Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) president and chief executive officer Dr. Temel Kotil is confident that the company can develop strong links with the Asia-Pacific aerospace industry as it works to develop Turkey’s first indigenously-designed fighter.
Speaking exclusively to asianmilitaryreview.com, Dr. Kotil stated that the “Asia-Pacific is very important” to the company, and he is keen to secure the assistance of companies in the region particularly for the provision of niche services such as composite materials design and manufacture.
The firm has been tasked by the Turkish government to develop and produce the country’s first ever indigenous multirole fighter aircraft. While TAI is coy on providing a detailed description of the aircraft’s characteristics, Dr. Kotil did stipulate that the aircraft’s design is expected to be frozen within four years, that it will have two turbofans and will be classified as a “fifth generation” aircraft. While he was taciturn on expanding exactly what this means, it is expected that the aircraft will retain a low radar cross section, as a key part of its design.
Once the design is finalised by circa 2021, Dr. Kotil stated that he expects a prototype aircraft to be ready to commence flight testing by 2023, with a projected service entry date of 2029 for the aircraft in Turkish Air Force service. Although the fighter will be entering an already crowded market place, with the Lockheed Martin F-35A/B/C Lightning-II and Sukhoi PAK-FA already expected to be in routine service with the United States Air Force and the Russian Air Force by 2030, along with current and potential export customers, not to mention emerging Republic of Korea and People’s Republic of China fighter designs, Dr. Kotil remains bullish on the aircraft’s prospects, stating that he believes the company will “be building the best fighter in the world.”