In the early 2000s, a cartoon in a Turkish humor magazine depicted two defense procurement officials apologetically telling an angry minister of defense that their national tank prototype “had derailed during field tests.” In real life, that tank, the Altay, is still going through field tests. But Turks have a bigger ambition: to build an indigenous fighter jet.
In 2006, Turkey’s defense procurement chief, Murat Bayar, said that Turkey should avoid designing and developing aviation platforms. But in a Nov. 2013 interview with the US weekly Defense News, he said, “Now we have a most challenging program for the local design and production of a warplane featuring stealth, ultrasonic speed, high maneuverability and modern sensors. We know that this will be a difficult task. But we believe that our industry has the capability to develop and fly this aircraft in 15-20 years.”