First Turkish-Made plane set to roll out, Gonul announces
Attending the Second Izmir Global Aviation, Space, and Offset conference yesterday, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul said that test flights for the Turkish-made unmanned aerial vehicle Anka have been completed, and that the first Turkish-designed plane is due to soon roll off the production lines. On the Turkish defense industry's advances in recent years, Gonul said, "Our defense industry reached $2.3 billion annual turnover, with $800 million in exports. Now the industry meets 45 percent of the Turkish Armed Forces' needs, and this is expected to hit 50 percent next year." Turkey's ready-to-use military vehicles imports have fallen 10 percent, he added. Gonul also attended the opening of the Ahmet Eroglu Wing of the Aegean Vocational High School's Plane Technology Program, affiliated to Izmir's Aegean University. Addressing the ceremony, Gonul stressed that Turkey's rapidly developing aviation sector has exposed a qualified workforce shortage in the sector. In related news, a large proportion of the parts Turkey will produce under the joint production of F35 Fighter Jet engines will be supplied by the Aegean Free Zone, the Anatolian News Agency reported yesterday. A joint venture set up by Turkey's Kale Group and US engine producer Pratt & Whitney will start the production of 300 such parts in early 2012. Investments under the F35 project are set to create nearly 1,000 medium-term jobs.