Demir; Waiting Rolls-Royce’s answer to our RfP for TF-X Engine
Turkiye and United Kingdom discussed possible British contributions to the TF-X engine, and Turkiye wants to participate in the British next generation aircraft project, Tempest. Both aircraft are likely to use the same engine with modifications. Professor Demir and his delegation visited on May 19th; a few weeks before his visit, the British Premier went to India and invited the country to join Tempest's engine core development programme. TurDef asked Professor Demir Turkiye's position on the engine concerning the developments.
Demir answered the question with BAE Systems' position within Turkish Aerospace (TUSAŞ). The British company provides technical advice on the TF-X Project. Demir said, "We have spoken about cooperation possibility previously. Some works continue with BAE Systems. We have to define well BAE System's role in the Project. We have to evaluate the results of foreign cooperation and the added value."
(BAE Systems and TUSAŞ sign cooperation agreement28 Jan 2017)
Demir continued with Rolls-Royce and negations with the engine. He said, "Rolls-Royce had previously made an offer. They were forcing us to accept their conditions. We believe that we should meet at a point that makes sense for both parties. Our primary condition is to make the engine in Turkiye. The Intellectual Property (IP) rights should remain in Turkiye. Rolls-Royce is an experienced company. This experience has value. There are some counterarguments in the Turkish public, criticising Rolls-Royce's role and us for being slow. This is not that simple. We have intense experience with the results of cooperation with foreign companies. Therefore, we are watching our steps. We are not daydreaming. We know what foreigners may promise but give in the end. Consequently, we want to talk in detail as much as possible. We want to talk about all potential subjects.
I want to emphasise the British contribution at the state level. They are taking the cooperation seriously. They have cooperation ideas in their mind. We are, however, questioning one subject. We started our TF-X Project. They started the Tempest project and denied us. We mentioned every time that we do not find it sincere to cooperate. This does not mean that we are against cooperation. We want a partnership that would be mutually beneficial and would guarantee our rights. We wish to confirm our rights for future production technology. We want them to be secured. We will continue to negotiate the models that would be beneficial for our aircraft. Generally speaking, the meetings are positive. Both sides are constructive.
The British government acts positively. These are the positive sides, but we cannot say all is fine; let's start tomorrow. We issued a Request for Proposal (RfP) to Rolls-Royce. We are waiting for their answer. We will act according to the answer we will receive.
TurDef: What would you answer if Rolls-Royce proposed Turkiye to get the engine and market the engine to the third countries together?
Demir: We do not have a problem with that. Once the engine is produced together, we consider that it would be marketed to the other countries jointly. We do not see the trouble of making a derivative of the engine. Turkiye would keep the IP rights, and we do not see a problem with Rolls-Royce using some part of the IP rights. We do not want this cooperation to create an obstacle for our exports. This is another primary concern for us.
We have negotiated with foreign countries in the past, which has some experience. Our negotiation methods resulted from this experience. We are not daydreaming. We are trying to protect our country's interests, but we do not hope for them not to protect their interest. This is a matter of balance.
TurDef: You mention in the United Kingdom that the country lifted export restrictions. Shall we expect some results on other projects such as Hürjet?
Demir: They had previously declared their intention to lift the restrictions. They said that they would work hard on the matter. I announced that the restrictions were lifted because of a waiting list with more than 30 items. When we went to the UK, they said this list did not exist, and there was no item waiting. This shows that they are quick at making the steps when they have promised. This shows us that they will be constructive on cooperation too. This is a positive approach.
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