Golden age for Turkish aviation: 9 homegrown aircraft soared skies in decade

Türkiye
Sun, 25 Feb 2024 7:54 GMT
Turkish defense industry has flown its indigenous aerial vehicles, starting from training jet in 2013 to 5th generation fighter jet in 2024.
Golden age for Turkish aviation: 9 homegrown aircraft soared skies in decade

Türkiye has launched nine homegrown aircraft in a decade, as the efforts for the developments in the defense and aviation industries continue. 

Türkiye’s golden age of aviation started with manned and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) from the training aircraft Hurkus to the fifth generation fighter jet KAAN.

“Take one more look at the sky,” said Haluk Gorgun, president of the Defense Industry Agency, on the X social media platform, attaching a video of domestic aircraft that have recently made their first flights.

The video starts with showcasing Hurkus, which was developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).

Making its first flight on Aug. 29, 2013, the aircraft gained important capabilities and achieved export successes with further iterations.

Then, the Baykar TB2, created by the Turkish drone-maker Baykar, is shown to have flown for the first time on April 29, 2014, played a significant role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the Russo-Ukrainian War.

The Aksungur followed, which is a UAV developed by TAI based on its Anka platform, and flown for the first time on March 20, 2019, boasting a capacity to perform uninterrupted multi-role intelligence, surveillance, recon, and attack missions, as well as its capacity to equip high payloads. 

Record-breaking Akinci

The Bayraktar Akinci combat UAV (or UCAV), also developed by Baykar, took off on Dec. 6, 2019, achieving a record in flight altitude of Türkiye, and high export numbers to customers, including the Royal Saudi Naval Forces.

Baykar’s other UCAV was also showcased, named as the Bayraktar Kizilelma, a homegrown unmanned jet which has made its first flight on Dec. 14, 2022, as the drone-maker continues to develop it with newer iterations, planning to start mass production in 2024.

The Bayraktar Kizilelma features an artificial intelligence (AI) system that allows it to carry out air-air and air-ground combat missions, coupled with its low radar cross-section.
Having flown for the first time on April 25, 2023, the Hurjet, by TAI, is exhibited next on the video, boasting an upper altitude limit of 45,000 ft, at a 1.4 mach speed.

The vehicle continues to be developed with new variants such as light attack, jet trainer, acrotim demonstration, and more.

The last aircraft made by Baykar to have flown to the sky is the Bayraktar TB3, which launched for the first time on Oct. 27, 2023.

Equipped with the domestic PD-170 engine developed by TAI Engine Industries (TEI), the Bayraktar TB3 UCAV can take off and landing from short runway ships, such as the homegrown combat ship TCG Anadolu. 

Türkiye’s national means take KAAN fighter jet to skies

The ANKA III, the first vertical tailless UAV with a turbofan-engine developed by TAI, took to the skies for the first time on Dec. 28, 2023.

As a new generation UAV platform, the ANKA III can perform many missions, such as reconnaissance, surveillance, intelligence, attack with different air-ground munitions, hunting and scanning by engaging enemy helicopters, neutralizing enemy RF emitting radar, and more.

Dubbed as Türkiye’s most important technology project, the fifth generation fighter jet named KAAN also developed by TAI, made its first flight on Wednesday.

Thanks to KAAN, Türkiye will be among the small number of countries capable of producing fifth generation aircraft.

Described by pilots as “an aircraft computer,” KAAN will incorporate most up-to-date capabilities with its AI intelligence and neural network, allowing the airctaft to perform air-to-air combat with new generation weapons and precision strikes from internal weapon mounts at supersonic speed.  

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