PAS19: TAI unveils the new Turkish Fighter

Paolo Valpolini

In a ceremony at the Turkish Aerospace Industries static display, the company unveiled the mock-up of the future Turkish fighter, TF-X, based on national design and production. Abdurrahman Şeref Can, the Head of Aircraft Department of the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) underlined that “this is an important day for Turkey and for the Turkish defence industry, the 5th generation fighter programme having been on top priority for the national government.” He underlined the huge effort made in terms of research and development, technology enhancements, system development, and synchronisation of requirements with the industrial process.

The history of the TFX dates back to 2010, “but a lot of progress have been made in the last three years through a considerable effort,” he remarked, saying that the work of TAI together with BAE Systems is on schedule. Beside the aircraft Turkey is involved in the development of the engines and all subsystems, exploiting available and new capabilities of its defence industry. “We learnt a lot thanks to our involvement in two major programmes such as the F-35 and the 400M,” the SSB representative underlined before thanking all the actors that made it possible the TF-X development until now.

Taking over the floor the TAI CEO Prof. Temel Kotil said that “thousands of engineers are working on the TF-X programme, the aim being of flying it by  2025 and having it in service in 2028.” He also remarked the importance of the new aircraft for Turkey and all the region, concluding that “the TF-X will be the best European fighter.”

The new aircraft was then unveiled. The twin rudder aircraft mock-up resembles closely to the models seen until now. The wing has a surface of 60 m2 and a span of 14 meters, the TF-X being 21 meters long and 6 meters high. The two engines provide 27,000 lb thrust each, maximum speed being around Mach 1.8, maximum ceiling being 55,000 ft. Declared g limits are +9/-3.5. Low observability is key, the TF-X being fitted with an internal weapons bay, MBDA’s Meteor being definitely one of the weapons of choice, as it was defined by TAI CEO as “the best European missile.” The TF-X is proposed as a multirole aircraft, capable to carry out air superiority missions as well as attack missions.

Photos by Paolo Valpolini