BAE Systems has signed a £100m deal with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) to develop the fifth-generation fighter jet for the Turkish Air Force.

The agreement banks on a pre-contract study phase between BAE Systems and TAI, and is expected to strengthen defence ties between both the countries, BAE stated.

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BAE Systems CEO Ian King said: ‘‘BAE Systems is a leader in designing, manufacturing and supporting fighter aircraft and is in an excellent position to contribute technical and engineering expertise and experience of managing complex projects to this key Turkish programme.

“The announcement signals an exciting next step in relations between both Turkey and the UK with the co-operation between BAE Systems and TAI paving the way for a deeper defence partnership.

"The agreement confirms ongoing collaborative work on the design and development of the aircraft."

"I’m proud that the UK stood with you on July 15 last year in defence of democracy."

Hundreds of engineers from both the countries will take part in the fighter jet development project, the statement said.

During a recent visit to Turkey, UK Prime Minister Theresa May was quoted by media sources as saying: “I’m proud that the UK stood with you on July 15 last year in defence of democracy and now it is important that Turkey sustains that democracy by maintaining the rule of law and upholding its international human rights obligations as the government has undertaken to do.”

TAI is developing TFX twin-engine, all-weather fighter jet in order to replace the air force's existing fleet of F-16s.

Image: Representatives from the UK and Turkey. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.