Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has grown the size of its workforce from 6,000 to about 10,000 employees in a few years, according to its CEO and President Temel KOTIL. The company is expected to increase its workforce to 15,000 employees by 2030. Revenue has increased from US$1.3Bn in 2016 to US$2.3Bn in 2019. From this result, it can be seen that TAI, which belongs to Turkish Army Fund, has invested massively in its aviation value chain in the last five years, strategically positioning its supply chain both domestically and internationally. In January 2021, TAI put into operation the fourth largest composite plant under one roof. The plant was built in Ankara at a cost of US$181M and has an enclosed area of 100,000 m2. It will produce two per cent of the world’s composite products at full capacity.
It has officially been announced by TAI that the company has started to build the largest subsonic wind tunnel facility in Turkey and the second largest in Europe. The facility is under construction for conducting wind tunnel tests of the Turkish Fighter MMU and will be used for the development of indigenous, rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft, especially the Turkish Fighter. The tunnel test facility will have three different test sections, a large one, a small one and an open one whereby the examinees will be positioned in these sections and subjected to the latest measurement and sensor equipment for advanced testing.
With the integrated moving ground harness system, aircraft landing and take-off tests will also be able to be performed. In addition to these testing capabilities, aircraft production, integration and instrumentation will also be performed and will make a strategic contribution to the product development process of the Turkish aerospace industry.
The decision by the US government to exclude Turkey from the F-35 JSF project has spurred the dynamics in the aviation landscape. This however is not new because when Turkey was subjected to an arms embargo by the US due to the Cyprus conflict, the Turks laid the foundation of today’s Turkish defence industry through ASELSAN, HAVELSAN and ROKETSAN.