Turkish TF-X Fighter Program

Discussion in 'Military Aviation' started by jedigman, May 19, 2013.

  1. jedigman

    jedigman Regular Member

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    TAI displayed images of three different potential single seat concept designs: a single engine, conventionally laid out aircraft; a single engine aircraft, equipped with canards; and a twin engine, conventionally laid out fighter.

    All three concepts feature elements traditionally associated with fifth generation aircraft, including a design optimised for low radar cross-sectional density, internal weapons bays, and the ability to super cruise, Huseyin Yagci, TAI's chief engineer on the F-X programme told IHS Jane's at IDEF.

    According to Yagci, the two single engine concepts will have a maximum take-off weight of between 50,000 lb and 60,000 lb, while the twin engine aircraft will have a maximum take-off weight of between 60,000 lb and 70,000 lb.
    The future F-X fighter is intended to eventually replace Turkey's Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft, and other aircraft, and will augment the country's planned buy of 100 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft. The F-X is, however, intended to be optimised largely for an air-to-air role and is expected to be able to outperform the F-35 in this role, Yagci stated.

    Since the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) awarded TAI a 24-month concept design phase contract for the F-X programme in 2011, TAI has worked its way through more than 30 different concept designs before narrowing the field to a final three. These three concepts, alongside associated feasibility studies will be presented to the Executive Committee (EC) of the SSM in December, which is chaired by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, which will make a decision on if and how to pursue future development of the programme.

    The EC may in December narrow the selection to a single design; however, Yagci and Ediz Tarhan, programme manager for F-X at TAI, believed that this would be unlikely. "It is possible that a single choice is made by the EC, but I don't think so," Tarhan stated. However, TAI does expect that the EC will make a decision on whether "to go or not go" on further development of the programme.
    The main reason behind Tarhan and Yagci's belief that no single concept choice will be selected is down to the fact that neither the twin engine nor single engine designs have yet finalised their choice of engine - which will be purchased, or possibly co-produced, from a foreign supplier. While it was possible that the engine selections may be decided by the time of the EC meeting in December, both TAI experts believed the process would likely take up to a year and that the EC would be unable to judge concept design performance, as this would not be finalised until an engine was chosen.

    Work to select a foreign engine supplier began in earnest at the Farnborough 2012 International Air Show, where TAI met with potential partners, Yagci stated. This work has continued with supplier visits to TAI in Turkey, with Yagci stating that further meetings had taken place at IDEF. TAI has cast the net wide for a potential engine supplier, with Yagci confirming that they were also looking at NATO suppliers and non-NATO engines, including Russian designs.
    Part of the programme analysis includes potential international co-operation in the F-X fighter, with TAI identifying three different models for such co-operation. The first, and preferred model for Turkey, would see a foreign partner agree to jointly fund the F-X programme, based on a common set of requirements, Yagci stated. The second model would see Turkey partner with a nation with similar levels of defence industrial ambition, with degrees of joint development, build, and export responsibility shared between Turkey and its partner or partners. Meanwhile, the third model would see Turkey partner with a country or company highly experienced in aircraft design, which could then provide technical assistance for the programme.
    A degree of international co-operation has already taken place on the F-X concept design, with Sweden's Saab involved in a technical consultancy capacity. TAI placed a tender for this work at the end of 2012, with Saab winning out over an Italian company, two US companies, and two other consultancy companies, receiving a contract for the project work in June 2012, TAI told IHS Jane's . However, this work was only "a small element" of the programme and will draw to a close when TAI's 24-month F-X contract from the SSM expires on 29 September.

    Turkey's requirements for the performance of the F-X fighter have evolved since that original award. Yagci stated that the original set of requirements that TAI received for the programme, were higher than was physically possible to do with a manned aircraft, either now or likely in the future. These demands were then eased with a second set of requirements, before a third set of requirements added elements such as the avionics and electronic warfare (EW) suite into the equation. TAI is now working on a fourth set of Turkish requirements for F-X, which it received at the end of 2012, and includes an integrated logistics solution.

    Source - IHS/Janes
     
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  3. vram

    vram Regular Member

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    @jedigman
    What are the motives of this project. Is it in search of filling a gap of genuine demand in the fighter squadron profile to replace the f-16s that are not available in the external Market... OR is it to build up the domestic industry so that Turkey can be self reliant??
    Becos if the answer is only the latter point then it would a better option looking at that fighter technical specs for turkey to go for the Gripen NG.
     
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  4. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    The F-35s will form the hi-component of their force while the TF-X will form the lo-component.

    Turkey seems to be replicating the Korean model.

    It seems like they plan on building an EF or Rafale with internal bays, or you could say something like Mig-1.44 lite or Su-47 lite. Low RCS comparable to EF + greater maneuverability than F-35.
     
  5. jedigman

    jedigman Regular Member

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    Turkey Picks Saab To Mentor National Fighter Program

    Turkey has selected Saab to help shape its plans to design, develop and manufacture its first national fighter jet.

    Ankara has already drafted three models, one of which likely will become its first indigenous fighter, although some analysts said Turkey should have opted for an unmanned model.

    “After lengthy negotiations with Saab, we have come to the conclusion to go ahead with this company to finalize our feasibility studies,” a senior procurement official familiar with the national fighter program said.

    He said that the Swedish aerospace and defense group already has assisted with the three models Turkish engineers have drafted, and these would be presented to top management at the country’s arms procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), as well as to the Air Force.

    “We are working to make that presentation in September or October,” the official said.

    The Saab group’s office here did not respond to questions by press time.

    An official from Tusas Aerospace Industries (TAI), the local prime contractor for the program, said that one of the three drafts is a twin-engine stealth aircraft and the other two are single-engine models, also stealthy.

    The procurement official said the program has two problems to overcome.

    “We need to pick up the right engine manufacturer with which we should be able to work out a long-term relationship. That will be essential. Also, we need to know that a meticulously devised cost-benefit analysis should prove this is a feasible program,” he said.

    A government official said the final decision on whether to launch the manufacturing phase would be made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    “A lot will depend on the findings of the cost-benefit analysis in progress now,” the official said. “We would accept a certain margin that will make the Turkish fighter reasonably more expensive than available options. But if we find out that we could only manufacture a fighter, say, [at a cost] 40 to 50 percent more expensive than a proven, off-the-shelf buy option, then the prime minister would probably drop the idea.”

    According to a draft plan, the country is aiming for a maiden flight for its national fighter jet in 2023, the Turkish Republic’s centennial. Production would commence in 2021, and deliveries to the Air Force are planned between 2025 and 2035. The aircraft would remain in service until 2060.

    “This is a long-term plan, and given technological developments in the global aerospace scene, the Turks should perhaps have gone for an unmanned fighter,” a London-based Turkey specialist said.

    Earlier, TAI signed a technical assistance deal with Saab to carry out conceptual design work. This followed an August 2011 deal signed with SSM to begin the conceptual design work for the fighter and trainer jets that Turkey hopes to build.

    Designing the first Turkish fighter, according to defense analysts, is a necessary but not critical step.

    “What is crucial here is whether this project would enable Turkey to earn capabilities to successfully integrate avionics, electronics and weapon systems into the chosen platform,” the London-based analyst said.

    Saab produces the JAS 39 Gripen, a lightweight, single-engine multirole fighter. Saab has cooperated with other aerospace companies in marketing the aircraft and has achieved moderate success in Central Europe, South Africa and Southeast Asia. More than 240 Gripens have been delivered or ordered.

    In 2010, Sweden awarded Saab a four-year contract to improve the Gripen’s equipment, integrate new weapons and lower operating costs. Last August, Sweden announced it planned to buy 40 to 60 Gripen NGs. The Swedish order followed Switzerland’s decision to buy 22 E/F variants of the jet.

    For its fighter program, dubbed TF-X, Turkey hopes to copy the method devised to co-produce T-129 attack helicopters with Italian-British AgustaWestland.

    “We think this model has worked successfully and could be a template for our fighter program,” the TAI official said.

    Turkey also plans to buy the F-35. But Turkish officials said they wanted to develop a fighter jet with another country to reduce Turkey’s dependence on Washington.

    - defensenews
     

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