Turkish firm to build engines for F-35 fighter jets
Turkish defense company KaleKalip, a Kale Holding affiliate, will produce F-135 engines of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, State Minister for Foreign Trade Zafer Caglayan said over the weekend. The F-135 engine is being built by the US' United Technologies Corp. for the world's biggest fighter aircraft program. UTC is also the manufacturer of Sikorsky helicopters. Caglayan, after meeting with UTC executives last week during a visit to the US, said the company started talks with KaleKalip last year. "They will sign a deal next week," Caglayan said. "To begin with, KaleKalip will manufacture more than 90 percent of the F-135 engines, and later they will manufacture all of them." KaleKalip's engine plant will be the second Turkish jet engine manufacturer after TEI, which makes engines for F-16 fighter jets. KaleKalip and UTC will set up a joint venture 51 percent owned by Kale. The deal will be signed between Kale and UTC division Pratt & Whitney, a supplier of aircraft engines for the commercial, military, business jet and general aviation markets. Caglayan said KaleKalip will launch a $50 million research and development program for the project. "It will start production this year," he said. "A group of UTC officials will come to Turkey next week. The plant will probably be based in (Turkey's) Aegean Free Zone." UTC has been working with KaleKalip and Alp Aviation, another Turkish firm, to manufacture Sikorsky helicopters. The American company has plans to design and build an entire Sikorsky helicopter in Turkey for export purposes, Caglayan said. "So far they've hit exports of $80 million. Talks are underway for $1 million in exports a day," he said. Pratt & Whitney and its joint venture partner, Turkish Airlines Technic, a subsidiary of Turkish Airlines (THY), also operate an engine overhaul facility in Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, from which they expect an annual turnover of some $500 million, Caglayan added.