Martin-Baker is to supply the crew escape system for the Turkish air force’s Hurkus B turboprop trainers, under a deal signed on the opening day of the Farnborough air show.
John Buckler, the UK company’s head of commercial operations, put pen to paper, along with Hurkus developer Turkish Aerospace Industries’ executive vice-president of aircraft Özcan Ertem.
The agreement covers the supply of M-B’s Mk T16N ejection seat for a Hurkus B prototype and an initial production run of 14 of the aircraft for the Turkish air force. The system will be slightly adapted from the same model of seat which already equips two A-model trainers, says project manager Chris Brooke Izzard.
One Hurkus A aircraft has flown some 70h in flight trials, and a second demonstrator is currently undergoing ground testing ready to start flight testing next month, Bekir Ata Yilmaz, senior executive and vice-president of strategy and corporate governance at TAI, says.
The trainer will eventually be available in three configurations: the standard A-model trainer; the B version with an upgraded glass cockpit; and the C, an armed development.
TAI is under contract to provide 15 B-model trainers plus 40 options for the Turkish air force, although the company says that it would be possible for the options to be a mix of more than one type, after the air force has completed the process of defining its requirements for the armed C variant.
Hurkus has a 1,600hp engine, which Yilmaz says contributes to the flexibility the aircraft will have to adapt to its different configurations. The Hurkus C will be able to carry some 1,500kg (3,300lb) in munitions, sensors and extra fuel weight.
TAI is working with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) throughout the process so that the A variant of the aircraft will be certificated by the end of 2015.
There is not a significant export drive for the Hurkus at the moment, but Yilmaz believes that once the aircraft is certificated and operational with the Turkish air force that interest will be drummed up.
Delivery of the first aircraft to the service is expected to take place in late 2017, and all of the initial 15 will be delivered over the subsequent year.
Additional reporting by Craig Hoyle