Turkish Aerospace is leaning toward a single-engine for its proposed Hurjet advanced jet trainer.
The company is talking to international engine suppliers for the aircraft, but has yet to select one, says Gorkem Bilgi, corporate marketing manager at Turkish Aerospace. Longer term, the manufacturer hopes to offer a local engine for the aircraft.
“If you're going to design and produce a light combat aircraft, it should be competitive regarding price and other things, so that's why we're thinking of single engines – but this is really based on requirements of the Turkish air force and industry,” he says.
He adds that the company foresees a good export market for the aircraft, of which Ankara will obtain 70 to replace its fleet of ageing Northrop T-38s. First flight for the Hurjet is planned for 2022.
At the show this year, Turkish Aerospace debuted a full-size mock-up of the Hurjet. Although previous renderings of the aircraft had indicated a twin-engined design, the mock-up shows just a single powerplant.
“We are trying to build an experienced population inside Turkey’s aerospace sector,” he says. “If we're going to develop our own fighter in the near future, we need to establish an experienced base, facilities and infrastructure… in the near future we will engage an engine programme from other companies, but at the end of the story I believe we'll use our own engine.”
Though Bilgi did not name potential powerplants, contenders could include the General Electric F404, which powers the Korea Aerospace Industries T-50, or the Honeywell F124, which powers the Leonardo M-346.
As for Turkey’s planned TF-X fighter, Bilgi says that Ankara is committed to the programme, but now the focus on developing the industrial base to deliver on this ambitious project, with a first flight planned for 2023. As with Hurjet, Turkish Aerospace is looking to foreign engine companies.
“Fighter aircraft are a kind of Champions League,” he adds.