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At the Paris Air Show Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) unveiled their one-to-one mock-up of the new Turkish fighter aircraft. This TAI TF-X stealth fighter will be the future of the Turkish Air Force. “In order to meet Turkish Air Force requirements beyond 2030s, an indigenous design and development programme aims to replace the aging F-16 fleet,” TAI announced. “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.”

The first of seven TF-X prototypes is scheduled to perform its maiden flight in 2026. The first of an envisioned 150 production TF-X aircraft is expected in 2029, entering service in 2031. Deliveries will continue until 2039. The TF-X aircraft is planned to be kept operational in the Turkish Air Force inventory until 2070s and will be interoperable with other critical assets such as F-35As.

“We moved Turkey’s most important project, which we conduct the pride, to the higher point,” said the President and CEO of Turkish Aerospace Prof. Temel Kotil. “We will do what few countries worldwide do. For the first time we will exhibit Turkish Fighter in Paris in order to show our capabilities. Thus, Turkey will demonstrate that there is no difference from other countries from the point of view of technological infrastructure. As Turkish Aerospace we aspire to fulfill Turkey’s first achievements in disciplined and concentrated ways. In order to realize the mentioned goals, we will continue to grow our company and to build our army of engineers. I am waiting for all our qualified engineers who say ‘Let be my share as well for my country’. Turkish Aerospace has opened its doors for you. We look forward to your determination, patience and work.”

Dorothee Frank