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Turkish Fighter Will Be ‘Best In Europe,’ CEO Says

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PARIS—Turkish Aerospace is looking to accelerate the development of its indigenous fighter aircraft, TF-X, in an attempt to fly as early as 2025, company CEO Temel Kotil said.                                                                       

Unveiling a full-scale mockup at the Paris Air Show here, Kotil said the company was living up to its promise to deliver what he called “the best fighter in Europe,” and said that work was underway to accelerate the service entry of the aircraft to 2028. 

“We have increased our speed … we have enough strength to build this fighter,” he added. Previously, the company had revealed its intentions to fly the TF-X in 2026.

The TF-X/MMU, or Turkish Fighter, is planned to be a twin-engine, 60,000-lb. (27-metric-ton), low-observable combat aircraft equipped with indigenously developed systems and sensors. 

After several years of confusion surrounding the TF-X’s engine choice, it was decided to use General Electric’s F110 powerplant, at least for the prototypes. A national engine design company, TR Motor, has been created to develop an engine for production models. But there are still initiatives to work out with an international development partner, Abdurrahman Şeref Can, the head of the aircraft department in the Turkish national armaments’ agency, SSB, told Aerospace DAILY.

Ankara has also assigned $1 billion in funding to support the program for the next four years, taking the program out to its preliminary design review.

There will also be additional rounds of contracting with international suppliers for onboard systems such as ejection seats and actuators, Can said. Work is also underway to widen the weapon options to make the aircraft more attractive for international buyers. Can added that the aircraft could use the MBDA Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile. He said discussions are underway with a number of weapon suppliers as well as Turkish companies developing weapons.

The show is being held June 17-23.


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