Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has given the technical specifications of its Turkish Fighter (TF) project, also known as TF-X.
The TF-X is being designed and developed in Turkey, with support from BAE Systems, to replace Turkish Air Force (TuAF) F-16s, which will gradually reach the end of their service lives in the 2030s.
TAI stated on its website, “Turkey will take its place as the fourth country in the world after the US, Russia and China that will possess the necessary technologies, engineering infrastructure and production capabilities once the engineering activities on all the critical technologies are accomplished”, including increased situational awareness, sensor fusion, low observability, and weapon bay required by a jet fighter aircraft of the fifth generation and beyond.
TAI said TF-X will be operational with the TuAF until the 2070s and will be interoperable with other TuAF “critical assets” like the F-35A.
A co-operation agreement between TAI and BAE Systems on the production of TF-X went into effect in August. Work on the project is planned to start on 1 February 2018. TAI recalled that it signed the design and development contract with Turkeys’ Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) on 5 August 2016.
TAI provided a roadmap for the programme, with completion of the preliminary design phase four years after the signing of major subcontracts. This period will include the development of engineering capabilities, technology for key sensors like the radar and electronic warfare, the establishment of test infrastructures, and certification.
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