The Turkish Aerospace Industry (TAI) achieved a major milestone on 25th April 2023, as its latest aircraft, the TAI Hürjet, completed its first successful flight. This development is a significant boost for Turkey’s indigenous aviation industry and the country’s ambitions of becoming a major player in the aerospace industry.
The TAI Hürjet is a single-engine, tandem seat, supersonic advanced trainer and light combat aircraft that is currently under development by TAI. The Turkish Air Force plans to use this aircraft to replace the Northrop T-38 Talon in the trainer role and also supplement the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon for close air support. This will enhance the country’s military capabilities and strengthen its position as a major regional power.
The project was initiated by TAI in August 2017 using its own financial resources. A mock-up was displayed at the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow. However, as of January 2020, the aircraft did not have an engine selected, although the Eurojet EJ200 and the General Electric F404-GE-102 were under consideration to power the design. The prototype that flew on 25th April 2021, however, was powered by the General Electric F404-GE-102 engine.
The TAI Hürjet has impressive performance specifications, with a maximum speed of Mach 1.4, a range of 2,222 km, and a service ceiling of 13,716 m. It has a g limit of +8/-3 g and a rate of climb of 200 m/s. Its general characteristics include a crew of two, a length of 13 m, a wingspan of 9.8 m, a height of 4.2 m, and a wing area of 24 m2. The aircraft is powered by a single F404-GE-102 afterburning turbofan engine with 79 kN thrust.
Wide Area Display
One of the features that stands out in this prototype is wide area display.
A wide area display (WAD) is a type of cockpit display used in fighter jets and other aircraft to provide pilots with a large, high-resolution view of their surroundings. WADs typically replace multiple smaller displays with a single, large-format display that can show a variety of information simultaneously.
The advantages of a WAD include increased situational awareness, reduced pilot workload, and improved safety. By providing a larger, more comprehensive view of the cockpit and the outside world, pilots can more easily monitor their instruments, track other aircraft, and maintain situational awareness in high-pressure situations.
However, the TAI Hürjet is still a work in progress, with many capabilities planned for future prototypes. These include air-to-air refueling, fly-by-wire with parameter limiting, a built-in auxiliary power unit, a night vision goggle-compatible cockpit, a head-up display, and an integrated helmet display system. Once these capabilities are added, the TAI Hürjet will be a formidable aircraft that will be used in a variety of roles, from training to light combat missions.
In conclusion, the first flight of the TAI Hürjet is a significant moment for the Turkish Aerospace Industry. This aircraft represents a major development for Turkey’s aviation industry and reinforces the country’s ambitions of becoming a major player in the aerospace sector. While the TAI Hürjet is still in development, it has already demonstrated enormous potential, and future prototypes are expected to include additional advanced features.