Rolls-Royce scales back on joining fighter jet project with Turkey's Kale Group

FILE PHOTO: A Rolls-Royce logo is seen at the company's aerospace engineering and development site in Bristol, Britain, December 17, 2015. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

(Reuters) - British engine maker Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc confirmed it had scaled back efforts to join a Turkish program to build a new fighter jet with Turkey’s Kale Group.

In 2017, Kale Group said it would set up a joint venture with Rolls-Royce to develop aircraft engines after the UK and Turkey signed a defense deal worth more than 100 million pounds ($133 million) to develop Turkish fighter jets.

“We have worked closely with Kale throughout this process and the offer that remains on the table is for a co-developed solution delivered through our JV company, TAEC,” a Rolls-Royce spokesman told Reuters on Monday.

Separately, a Kale Group official said the company was waiting for Turkey’s defense industry directorate to respond to its final offer for the TF-X fighter jet program.

“We presented the best and final offer at the end of last year. A reminder was made in January. We are now waiting for an answer,” Selim Ergun, the TF-X program leader at Kale Group, told Reuters when asked about the Rolls-Royce comments.

The Financial Times had earlier reported the news.

Last year, Turkish Defense Industry Director Ismail Demir said the door remained open for international engine makers to get involved in Turkey’s TF-X national fighter jet project.

(This story removes the second paragraph which cited Financial Times report).

Reporting by Mekhla Raina in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Can Sezer in Istanbul; Editing by Peter Cooney and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty