Turkey’s Undersecretariat for the Defence Industry (SSM) and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) have signed an agreement to begin a national fighter jet project for the Turkish Air Forces (THK).

TAI general manager Muharrem Dörtkasli told Anatolia news agency it was agreed that TAI and SSM would begin negotiating the details for designing and producing a national fighter jet to meet the needs of the THK.

“We have ambitious goals. With this deal, we will start Turkey’s first national fighter jet development project,” he added.

Under the agreement, Tusas Engine Industries (TEI) will focus more on the production of the jet’s engines to be completed by 2015, while TAI will be responsible for developing other components, according to Today’s Zaman.

THK currently operates McDonnell Douglas F-4s and F-16 Fighting Falcons, which are scheduled to be replaced with Lockheed Martin F-35s without technology transfer over the next couple of years.