Turkish Aerospace Industries has produced for local consumption F-16 Fighting Falcon jets in the past. In 2007, a Memorandum of Intent was signed between Northrup-Grumman and TAI to produce center fuselages for the JSF F-35 Lightning II. Which means the following technologies were transferred to TAI:
- High precision advanced technology composite part production, high level digital integration between design and production period,
- Robotic controlled drilling, cutting and integration processes,
- Fiber placement techniques with automatic machining for sophisticated structures,
- Composite and metal bonding techniques by using high technology,
- Robotic controlled precise coating and painting applications,
- High standard quality applications required for 5th generation fighter aircraft.
Now ponder all these technologies slipping out of TAI and into Iran via Syria. Since Syria is now an ally of both countries. Or direct from Turkey to Iran. All the leaders in the West who let Turkey slip out of the Western world need to look in the mirror and bluntly say "I screwed up." Now it falls to an EU, who alienated Turkey with its preconditions for EU membership, and a United States, after Turkey nixed a northern front, to try to woo Turkey back. In the meantime, the DoD and the various military contractors who are working with TAI had better start looking at what TAI could give to Iran and its impact on Western military posture. Lives and countries hang in the balance.