Turkey’s military aviation industry is experiencing its glory days. The largest aerospace manufacturer in the country, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) rolled out the prototype of the Hürjet, a jet aircraft designed for advanced pilot training and light attack missions, on Friday in Ankara.
The Hürjet is the first military aircraft with a jet engine developed in Turkey. The project was launched by TAI in August 2017 with the aim of replacing the old Northrop T-38 Talon trainer jets of the Turkish Air Force, as well as creating a successor to the F-5 used in aerobatic demonstrations.
According to the manufacturer, the first flight of the Hürjet prototype is scheduled for March 18, 2023. For now, the plane will undergo ground tests, even without the engine installed. TAI stated that the Hürjet development program will have three test aircraft, two for flight tests and one for static tests.
After the development phase, it is expected that the Hürjet can enter service in mid-2025. In the first acquisition phase, the Air Force will have 16 aircraft, but the number should increase substantially in the coming years to replace the more than 60 jets T-38 in service with Turkey.
Measuring 13 meters long and 9.8 meters wide, the Hürjet will be powered by a General Electric F404 engine with 17,000 pounds of thrust. Due to its power, it will be a supersonic plane: the aircraft is designed by TAI with a maximum speed of Mach 1.4 (1,728 km/h) – and a range of 2,222 km.
Turkish aviation industry advances by leaps and bounds
In recent years, Turkey has become one of the exponents of the war industry. In addition to conducting the Hürjet advanced training jet project, TAI is also working on the development of the first Turkish 5th generation fighter, the TF-X, whose first flight is also scheduled for March 18, when the centenary of the Turkish Republic will be celebrated. .
While the first military jets are not ready to fly, Turkish-made unmanned aircraft are already at a more advanced stage.
Another local company, Baykar Technology, has become well known in recent months due to the actions of the TB2 Bayraktar drone, used by the Ukrainian military against Russian invaders.
Baykar is also developing the Kizilelma, an attack drone shaped like a stealth fighter that recently performed its first flight.