Turkish Aerospace Industries reveals several of its weapon systems are equipped with engines manufactured in Ukraine. Recently, Kyiv’s ambassador said Ukraine also wants to join Ankara’s fifth-generation fighter project, in a consortium with TAI and BAE, to help build and acquire the stealthy jet.

Mehmet Demiroglu, the new CEO of Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI / TUSAŞ) told the Turkish media outlet gdh TV that Ukrainian-made engines are used in its ATAK-2 attack helicopters, T925 multipurpose helicopters as well as the Anka-3 UAV, which completed its first test flight in December.

As Demiroglu explained the relationship began in 2021, when it was found that the quality of engines available from the Turkish industry could not meet the required quality. It was found that the power units manufactured by Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia-based Motor Sich was able to provide what was needed.

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He said “Procuring engines from Ukraine is a challenging task. It keeps us on our toes. However, today Ukraine continues to make deliveries, albeit with difficulties.”

Demiroglu said that the Turkish aviation industry is still dependent on foreign manufacturers, and they have yet to find engines of the quality and at the prices offered by TAI’s Ukrainian partners.

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The Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) Anka-3 combat unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which uses an engine made by Ukraine’s Motor Sich. Photo: TAI / TUSAŞ

He made it clear that, primarily because of the current logistics challenges Motor Sich faces, discussions were ongoing to enable TAI to manufacture Ukrainian designed engines locally under license.

He also admitted that he would ultimately prefer to use wholly Turkish engines and TAI was working with Turkey Engine Industries (TEI) to develop domestic alternatives to the Ukrainian engines. He said that “By the end of the 2020s, we will be flying with a TEI engine or another locally produced engine.”

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It is not only TAI that relies on Ukrainian engines. Several of the Bayraktar, Akinci and Kızılelma series of UAVs manufactured by Baykar Defense also use Ukrainian turboprop and turbojet engines.

In February, Ukrainian Ambassador to Turkey Vasyl Bodnar announced that Ukraine was hoping to be involved with Turkey’s fifth generation KAAN fighter aircraft that was under development by a consortium including TAI and BAE systems and completed its second test flight in May. Bodnar said Ukraine would not only work on the aircraft but hoped to eventually buy and use the aircraft.

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