Ukranian Ivchenko-Progress’s Role In Turkish Drone And Helicopter Programme

Ukraine’s Ivchenko-Progress turned down a request from Turkey’s state-owned TUSAŞ Engine Industries (TUSAŞ Motor Sanayii A.Ş., or TEI) in 2015 for the transfer of technology for turboshaft engines to pave the way for the production of helicopter engines in Turkey, a secret document on Turkish-Ukrainian military cooperation has revealed.

TEI was founded in 1985 as a joint venture between GE Aviation and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation and the Turkish Aeronautical Association.

TEI then had to sign a contract with the Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company (LHTEC), a partnership between Honeywell and Rolls-Royce, on December 10, 2015 in order to manufacture its indigenous helicopters. In February 2019 Turkey announced the completion of the turboshaft engine development project TS1400.

The PD170 Turboprop engine for Anka UAV and LHTEC T800 turboshaft engines for the T-129 Atak Helicopter engines were developed with the help from American General Electric and Ukrainian Ivchenko-Progress. Ukrainian Ivchenko-Progress was responsible for reviewing design of the engines and reviewing the manufacturing process of the engines.

The turboshaft system is a form of gas turbine engine. It provides power to helicopter rotors and is designed so that the speed of the rotor is independent of the rotating speed of the gas generator.

According to a secret policy paper obtained by GDC, Ivchenko-Progress offered a 50-50 partnership for designing the aviation engine during which each party would develop separate modules. In accordance with the proposal, the companies would meet regularly to review technical modalities and reports, and technical design pictures of the engine would be exchanged following the completion of the project. However, the Ukrainian company refused to share its design software and information revealing its methodology and process.

Ivchenko-Progress has been involved in the design of engines to power aircraft and helicopters of various types for over 68 years, along with drivers and special equipment for industrial application. The company is currently administered the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and the Ministry of Industrial Policy.

The Turkish Armed Forces Foundation (Türk Silahlı Kuvvetlerini Güçlendirme Vakfı, or TAFF) document, dated May 26, 2016 and titled “Strategic Planning and Coordination,” revealed that Ivchenko-Progress had agreed to assume full responsibility for the project in the event of a 50-50 partnership and to conduct a technical review of the TEI engine module, but the company did not agree to share its laboratories/workplaces with the Turkish engineers due to relevant Ukrainian regulations.

Moreover, Ivchenko-Progress declined TEI’s project proposals for partnership models providing ownership of less than 50 percent, the training of Turkish engineers and the designation of technical advisors to the Turkish company.

TAFF was founded in 1987 to “enhance the combat strength of the Turkish Armed Forces” and has played a leading role in the establishment and development of the defense industry.

It directly and indirectly controls major companies such as ASELSAN (electronics), ISBIR (generators and alternators), ASPILSAN (battery pack products), HAVELSAN (informatics), ROKETSAN (rockets and missiles) and TAI (aerospace and satellites). In 2018 it earned 43 percent of the Turkish defense industry’s total revenue, while it was responsible for 41 percent of defense exports.

On December 24, 2017 President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a decree placing the military ruled “foundation” under his control. Today, the TAFF board of trustees, as the main decision-making organ of the foundation, is chaired by Erdoğan.

TEI, established in 1985, operates in the research and development, design, production, maintenance and modernization of aircraft engines and other gas turbine engines.

Structure of the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation (TAFF).

The document also revealed the cooperation on rocket and missile production between ROKETSAN and its Ukrainian counterparts.

According to the policy paper, a Turkish delegation composed of representatives from the Turkish Armed Forces, the Defense Ministry, the Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry and various companies paid a visit to Kyiv on April 6-10, 2016.

During the visit the parties agreed on the establishment of a working group that would draft a framework agreement covering previous bilateral agreements and set up another working group to coordinate and plan academic and research programs on space and satellite launching technologies, the document underlined.

ROKETSAN was established in 1988 to design, develop and manufacture rockets and missiles and their launching, propulsion, guidance and control systems, rocket fuel and algorithms.

The document also underlined that TAFF subsidiaries ASELSAN, TUSAŞ and HAVELSAN continued bilateral cooperation with their foreign counterparts.

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