After Teknofest, Turkish Aerospace Industries Focusing On TF-X MMU Indigenous Stealth Combat Aircraft Project

After Teknofest, Turkish Aerospace Industries Focusing On TF-X MMU Indigenous Stealth Combat Aircraft Project

October 6, 2021 0 By Reem

Turkey’s Teknofest 2021 edition officially ended on September 26th, after being held at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport from september 21st.  Marking his presence in support of the country’s main aerospace and technology innovation event, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made an appearence. In all, more than 100,000 people visited the 450,000 square meters area reserved for the show’s various displays and other activities.

Organized by Turkish Technology Team (T3) Foundation and the nation’s Industry and Technology Ministry, the event showcased Turkey’s ambition as a leading technology and innovation nation. With a highly robust yet growing aerospace industrial base, the event emphasized the nation’s determination in ramping up its reliance on the country’s evolving defense and aerospace needs. More than 200,000 students spread in 45 teams participated in various competitions including flight (Heterogenous Swarm Simulation Competiton, Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare, Artificial Intelligence in Transportation, Flying Car Design, Jet Engine Design Technology for Humanity, Education Technologies, Intelligent Transportation, Biotechnology Innovation, Environment and Energy Technologies, Agricultural ULV, Helicopter Design, Digital Technologies in Industry, Tourism Technologies, Communication Technologies, Hack Istanbul…) and technology (fighting UAV, Rocket, Efficiency Challenge Electric Vehicle, High School UAV, International UAV, Autonomous Robotaxi, Unmanned Underwater Systems). This was the highest number of competitors ever, decisively charting a trail for the country’s future excellence in the sector.

Most of the attention garnered by Turkey’s aerospace sector has lately been focusing on Selçuk Bayraktar, founder of newly famed UAV’s manufacturer Baykar. As the powerful driving personnality behind the country effort to propel its technology industry and start-ups, Bayraktar has also been selected to chair the T3 foundation.

Already the leading defense projects developped domestically have received consistent international headlines. Such projects include the Akinci UAV, the Atak 2 combat helicopter, the Hurkus trainer and light attack aircraft, the Aksungur UAV, the Gokbey utility helicopter and Bayraktar’s own TB2 UAV. Yet more attention is being focused on the country’s evolving flagship TF-X National Combat Aircraft (MMU) project ; Turkey’s ambition to build a fifth-generation indigenous stealth fighter jet whose prototype will be unveilled on March 18th 2023.

Building a state-of-the-art fifth generation fighter plane resonates even more in Turkey’s public opinion as it bears the symbol of national pride following the United States angrily refusing to sale its F-35 fifth generation fighter jet to Turkey. The move by the US had been prompted by Turkey’s decision to procure highly advanced S-400 SAM batteries from Russia, its rival.

The project to build the MMU fifth generation aircraft has been entrusted to Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) as the main contractor. In an interview with dailysabah.com website, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) general manager Temel Kotil indicated that the scope of work assigned to TAI covers avionics software, control and hydraulic systems. Aselsan will also share some of the avionics hardware work while Havelsan has also received a work share of the project’s software also including the design of the aircraft’s radar and sensors. Yet the aircraft central computers will be the product of collaboration between Turkey’s Scientific and Technological Research Council (TUBITAK) and its Information Security Advanced Technologies Research Center’s (BILGEM). While the aircraft will not initial rely on a new engine design, the production of flight control surfaces’ actuators will be under a partnership between TAI and Ukraine’s Altinay with Pavotek being responsible for building the aircraft’s electrical power generation architecture.
In all Temel Kotil indicated more than 1,000 engineers were already working designing some 20,000 parts, some critical titanium wing sub assemblies, for the project which it referred to as “crucial for the company and the country”. For TAI, workload was only getting heavier with tight deadlines to be met on other TAI high priority projects like development of the Hurjet advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft due to fly by the end of 2022.
Under President Erdogan, Turkey has shown growing assertiveness in global security issues.