Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has delivered the first modernised Northrop T-38 jet trainer to the nation's air force in Ankara.
The T-38M avionics modernisation project for the Northrop-built fleet was signed by TAI and Turkey's Undersecretariat for Defence Industries in 2007. The "Ari" (Bee) effort calls for 55 aircraft to be upgraded, with the work to extend their service lives until beyond 2020.
Key elements of the TAI-designed upgrade include a new central control computer, multi-function cockpit displays, head-up displays, hands-on throttle and stick controls and modern navigation and communication equipment. Suppliers include Turkish firms Aselsan and Havelsan.
© Turkish Aerospace Industries
TAI will deliver the programme's first five aircraft: two prototypes and three production examples. Modernisation work will then be continued at the Turkish air force's Eskisehir maintenance centre, with the project likely to be finished by the end of 2013.
The Turkish air force has a current active fleet of 67 T-38As, as recorded by Flightglobal's MiliCAS database.
Meanwhile, the air force is already starting to consider its requirements for a next-generation "T-X" trainer aircraft that should enter service during the 2020s, Brig Gen Atilla Darendeli, chief of the service's training branch, told IQPC's Military Flight Training conference in London last month.
Additional reporting by Craig Hoyle