Turkey’s Aerospace Ambitions on Display in Berlin

 - May 29, 2014, 8:46 AM
Turkey’s aerospace industry was a big exhibitor at the ILA Berlin Airshow, including Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), whose stand included a Hurkus turboprop trainer cockpit and nose section. (Photo: Chris Pocock)

The Turkish aerospace industry was on full display last week during the ILA Berlin airshow, at which it was the official “partner country.” Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) put the T129 attack helicopter and the Anka Male UAV on static display and showed the Hurkus turboprop trainer on its stand in Hall 6. Also in that hall were displays by avionics specialist Aselsan, simulation and training company Havelsan, missile house Roketsan, systems house STM, defense research and space organization Tubitak and Turkish Airlines. Most of these entities are partially or fully state-owned, but an organization with the Turkish acronym OSSA represented 135 smaller Turkish aerospace, defense and electronic companies.

TAI president and CEO Muharrem Dortkasli predicted a first export sale of the T129 (Turkish acronym ATAK) helicopter “shortly.” The T129 was co-developed with AgustaWestland and Aselsan from the A129 Mangusta, including re-engining with two LHTEC CTS800 turboshafts and new avionics. An initial batch of nine is being produced for the Turkish army. An initial 10 Anka UAVs have also been ordered, with upgrades compared with the initial version on display at Berlin. A first batch of 15 Hurkus trainers has also been ordered, following the first flight in August last year. TAI’s other big development program is an indigenous utility helicopter, but the company also has ambitions for an indigenous jet trainer/light fighter, dubbed the TX/FX project.

Roketsan signed an MoU at the show with Airbus Defence & Space, covering possible integration of Turkey’s Stand-Off Missile (SOM) on Airbus military aircraft, and possible cooperation on the TX/FX. Roketsan displayed its Cirit laser-guided small missile and Misrak-U long-range anti-tank missile.

STM displayed a range of capabilities, including airborne mission management and support, digital moving map and tactical datalink interoperability.