Turkish fighter makes Asia-Pacific debut

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Turkish Aerospace presents a full-scale mock-up of the TF (Turkish Fighter, known as MMU in Turkey) at the Singapore Airshow, where the design is on display for the first time. The aircraft is currently under development with the goal of deploying the first example in 2023 and flying it in 2025. Turkey sees opportunities for the aircraft and associated technologies in the Asia-Pacific region, where Turkish Aerospace sold T129 attack helicopters to the Philippines. and is pursuing the sale of the Hurjet trainer to Malaysia with the possibility of local production.

Turkey chose to pursue a domestic fighter aircraft in 2010 to replace the air force F-16s from 2030. After evaluating various configurations, Turkey chose a twin-tailed twin-engine configuration in 2015 , with a design and development contract awarded to first contractor Turkish Aerospace for what was then known as TF-X the following year. The program has taken on greater priority since Turkey’s withdrawal from the F-35 program.

The TF is a stealth design, with internal weapons bays. Its service ceiling is 55,000 feet and its maximum speed is Mach 1.8 at 40,000 feet, with the capability of “supercruise” or supersonic flight without afterburner. The airframe will be designed for +9/-3.5g loads and the sensors will include an AESA radar. under development by ASELSAN. Two 29,000-pound-class General Electric F110 engines will power the first TFs, as they do Turkish F-16s, but the definitive powerplant remains undefined. However, it will likely be an indigenous design being developed by TRMotor, which may include Russian technology.

Full-scale models of locally developed weapons by Tubitak-SAGE, Aselsan and Roketsan are displayed next to the TF mock-up, illustrating the type of armament the aircraft will carry in service. They include the Aselsan miniature bomb, which is akin to the Boeing GBU-39 small diameter bomb, the HGK series of Mk 80 bombs fitted with GPS/inertial guidance kits, and the KGK series, which also adds a span extension wing. The Roketsan SOM and SOM-J missiles are featured, along with two members of the Goktug air-to-air missile family, developed by Tubitak-SAGE. The Peregrin is a highly maneuverable infrared-guided visual range weapon, while the Merlin is a longer range weapon with active radar guidance.

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