Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has released details of timeline for its Turkish Fighter (TF) project, also known as TF-X.
The TF-X project is a twin-engine 5th generation all-weather air superiority fighter being developed by TAI with technological assistance from BAE Systems, Chinese AVIC, and European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS).
A few days ago, the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) and an affiliated company signed a deal in the first step to develop a unique turbofan fighter jet engine in Turkey for TF-X aircraft.
An outline agreement was signed with TR Motor, a company established by the SSB to develop engines which would be used in the TF-X project.
The door remains open for international engine-makers to get involved in the national fighter jet project, Demir added.
He noted that development of the unique engine will be a long process, nearly 10 years, and today’s agreement will serve as a framework in this process.
“Our red line is an engine that belongs fully to us. We will work with those who want to produce an intermediary engine,” Demir said.
Within the scope of TF-X Program, Turkey will become one of the few countries to possess the necessary technologies, engineering infrastructure and production capabilities. Once the engineering activities on all the critical technologies are accomplished (e.g. increased situational awareness, sensor fusion, low observability, weapon bay, …etc), which are needed by a 5th generation (or beyond) jet fighter aircraft.
Since 2019 beyond the design and development of TF-X Aircraft, engineering capabilities, technology development activities (for key sensors like radar, electronic warfare..etc.), test infrastructures establishment and certification processes will be performed and extensive capabilities for a new generation jet fighter design, development and production will be gained by Turkish industry.
According to TAI, the production of the first batch of a prototype of newest Turkish fighter jets could begin starting in 2020 after production planning and tool design.
It is expected that the first prototype of TF-X aircraft to make its maiden flight in 2023.
The mass production process of new fighter jets is expected to start between 2032 and 2035.
TF-X aircraft is planned to be kept operational in the TurAF inventory until 2070s and will be interoperable with other critical assets of TurAF such as F-35As.