We’ll make fighter jets! (and spaceships too…)

Δευτέρα, 27 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

by Burak Bekdil

The Defense Industry Executive Committee... Even the mention of the name radiates an ultimate level of seriousness that one feels an urge to stand up and button an unbuttoned jacket. This is the panel that brings together the prime minister, defense minister, chief of the General Staff and defense procurement chief for final discussions on what weapon systems Turkey should be buying, from which supplier and under what terms and conditions.

One can imagine grey, grim office rooms decorated with giant-size Turkish flags, distasteful seats for the very important committee members, humorless discussions bogged down with complex details concerning war toys on endless shopping lists. But behind this gloomy façade, the meetings can be fun! Especially when the committee members sit down over humorless meetings but produce humorous decisions.

Wednesday was a particularly entertaining day for the Turkish defense industry. Not because the important men in suits and uniform gathered for another humorless meeting, but because they agreed to do something “humor-ful.”

After the meeting, Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül proudly announced that the committee had pushed the button for feasibility studies for the design, development and production of Turkey’s first “entirely indigenous and national” fighter jet!

The new generation “Made in Turkey” fighters will replace Turkey’s aging F-4 aircraft, and will operate together with the F-16s – which Turkey already has in its inventory – and the F-35s (widely known as the Joint Strike Fighter) – which Turkey plans to buy from a U.S.-led international consortium. The committee has decided to task the local aviation company TAI with the “conceptual design” work. With the project, Turkey will join the small league of half a dozen or so countries that has the capabilities to design and produce their own fighter jets.

Wonderful news! I cannot help prematurely suggesting to christen the Turkish fighter “the Fatih” or “the Yavuz” – or just “the Sultan.” With some Italian help it could well be dubbed “the Mamma li Turchi!” Since the proposed aircraft will boast state-of-the-art features specifically for air-to-air missions (dogfights and combat), an alternative name could be “the 1453,” with a hidden message to our friends across the Aegean.

Things may take an even more humorous turn with the involvement of TAI, our national aerospace powerhouse. I could not hide my smile in front of the defense official friend upon Minister Gönül’s announcement, especially when I remembered that TAI had been bogged down with developing a simple trainer for the past several (oh, more than several!) years. The Hurkus, TAI’s basic trainer, is yet to make a maiden flight, but a photo at the TAI premises shows it flying over Turkish skies thanks to Turkish engineering miracles – not aircraft making but photo-shopping!

Apparently, trainer aircraft and drones are systems too complex for Turkish engineering. On the other hand, kites and model planes would be too simple. I would suggest something in between for a nice start, rather than an agile fighter jet with air-to-air combat role. Maybe big model planes or kites equipped with rockets would do. Should Minister Gönül insist on a fighter aircraft flying over our skies and safeguarding the homeland, TAI’s engineers will have to do overtime on more photo-shopping projects.

But “the Sultan” – I increasingly warming to the name – will certainly capture the average voter who would be content with a photo-shopped warplane. He won’t care if there really is a Turkish-made aircraft. Just the news of it will suffice to thrill him – and make him proud of his government. See from now on how the “yellow newspapers” will cover the “big news.”

In early 2000s, a cartoon in a Turkish magazine depicted two defense procurement officials apologetically telling an angry minister of defense that their national tank prototype “had derailed during field tests.” I cut the cartoon and sent it, with compliments, to the procurement chief, Murad Bayar. The always polite and gentlemanly Mr. Bayar later told me that that cartoon was adorning an office wall where the head of the project for the design and development of Turkey’s first main battle tank works – on strict orders that it should remain framed there until Turkey’s first national tank, the Altay, is up and running.

But what happened to the Altay after more than a decade? The government earmarked a generous $500 million for the design and development of four prototypes, one of which will eventually become the Altay. There is a minor problem, though. Of that money, $350 million went to a foreign technology supplier for what will become “Turkey’s first entirely Turkish tank!” I hope the project coordinator will forgive me for forcing him to face a boring cartoon for several years.

But I won’t give up. As soon as some creative cartoonist depicts two procurement officers apologetically telling an angry minister of defense that the prototype for our first national fighter jet has failed to glide underwater during sea tests, I’ll send it along to Mr. Bayar – with compliments, as always.

www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=we8217ll-make-fighter-jets-and-spaceships-too8230--2010-12-16

9 σχόλια:

Ανώνυμος 27 Δεκεμβρίου 2010 - 7:35:00 μ.μ. EET  

Ohhhh Sultan!!!!

Nήμα 27 Δεκεμβρίου 2010 - 8:08:00 μ.μ. EET  

OR BETTER name it

"HALVA"
OR EVEN BETTER
"HALVA THE MAGNIFICENT"

Ανώνυμος 28 Δεκεμβρίου 2010 - 2:58:00 μ.μ. EET  

τι κοροιδευτε? αυτοι τουλαχιστον θα το προσπαθησουν. εμεις που ειμαστε?

Ανώνυμος 28 Δεκεμβρίου 2010 - 5:27:00 μ.μ. EET  

γκασμαδες που κοροιδευετε, καταλαβαινετε τουλαχιστον τι λεει το αρθρο;

Νήμα 28 Δεκεμβρίου 2010 - 6:32:00 μ.μ. EET  

No offence my dear!

Ας προσπαθήσουμε ΤΑ πιο ΣΗΜΑΝΤΙΚΑ ΑΡΧΙΚΑ και βλέπουμε για υπερ-όπλα...ΑΥΤΟ ΙΣΧΥΕΙ ΚΑΙ ΓΙ'ΑΥΤΟΥΣ...

Η στυγνή και εγκληματική χώρα θα κάνει jet...και προβληματίζεται πως θα το ονομάσει. ΓΙΑ ΚΟΡΟΙΔΙΑ ΕΙΝΑΙ...

Νήμα 28 Δεκεμβρίου 2010 - 7:24:00 μ.μ. EET  

@28 Δεκεμβρίου 2010 5:27:00 μ.μ. GMT+02:00

Περιμέναμε εσένα το ΦΤΥΑΡΙ για να κατανοήσουμε το υψηλού περιεχομένου άρθρο εις την αγγλικήν!

Oh my! Wrap its heavy concepts and submit it again -to enkrypto- for your fellow gasmades!
ΤΙ ΑΓΕΛΑΣΤΟΙ ΜΙΖΕΡΟΙ ΜΟΥΝΤΡΟΥΚΟΙ ΕΙΣΑΣΤΕ ΡΕ ΣΕΙΣ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ανώνυμος 30 Δεκεμβρίου 2010 - 6:16:00 π.μ. EET  

@ΝΗΜΑ, άλλη μια εξαιρετική ανάρτηση υψηλού ήθους και χαρακτήρα! Keep 'em coming! Και μην ξεχάσεις ν' αναφέρεις ότι δεν έχουνε παραδοση στην αμυντική τους βιομηχανία! Ούτε μια ΠΥΡΚΑΛ έτσι για δείγμα βρε αδερφέ!

ΥΓ Ο Χαλβάς έγραψε!

Semper asiduus

Ανώνυμος 31 Δεκεμβρίου 2010 - 6:01:00 π.μ. EET  

Thanks for an idea, you sparked at thought from a angle I hadn’t given thoguht to yet. Now lets see if I can do something with it.

Ανώνυμος 1 Ιανουαρίου 2011 - 10:23:00 π.μ. EET  

"We’ll make fighter jets! and spaceships too…" and then we will fight Kligon Empire for global domination

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