Another first for Le Bourget was the unveiling of a full-scale mockup of Turkey’s future fighter, TFX.
President and CEO of Turkish Aerospace Prof. Temel Kotil said: “We moved Turkey’s most important project, which we conduct with pride, to the higher point. We will do what few countries worldwide do. We exhibit the Turkish Fighter for the first time 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. At Turkish Aerospace we aspire to fulfil Turkey’s first achievements in disciplined and concentrated ways.”
The shape of the new aircraft resembled models seen at previous defence shows as well as concepts already published in brochures. The twin-engine 14 metre wingspan, 21m long TFX with twin vertical tails surfaces canted outwards was more F-22 than FCAS or Tempest. The low-observable configuration features an internal weapons bay.
With a designed maximum speed of Mach 2, a service ceiling of 17,000m (55,000ft), and a combat range of 1,111km (690 miles), TFX is being designed as a multirole fighter, capable of air superiority missions and long-range stand-off attack missions as well as operating with unmanned wingman platforms.
Despite the country’s financial pressures, TFX remains a priority defence programme although the powerplants have yet to be selected. Both Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems have been involved in the project but their future input in the design and development of Turkey’s ambitious 5th generation fighter remains unclear.
by David Oliver