TAI’s Hurkus Trainer To Fly Next Year
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) rolled out the first prototype of its Hurkus trainer on June 27 in the presence of Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and yesterday it revealed details of the program here at the show.
Designed entirely in Turkey by a team led by Aylin Ararat, the new aircraft is named after Vecilis Hurkus, a famed aviation pioneer whose achievements included being the first Turkish pilot to score an aerial victory, the establishment of the country’s first airline and the design and manufacture of several aircraft types. A replica of one of Hurkus’s designs was built to coincide with the new trainer’s rollout ceremony.
A program for the development of an indigenous basic trainer was first authorized in January 2005, with a development contract being awarded to TAI (Hall 4 Stand H2) on Mar. 15, 2006. The contract covered the design and manufacture of four airframes, comprising two flying prototypes and two for static and fatigue tests. A preliminary design review was held in August 2007, and a critical design review was conducted two years later.
Following last month’s rollout, the first prototype (registered TC-VCH) has entered the final testing phase prior to making its first flight, scheduled for next April. Civil type certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency and Turkish authorities is planned for December 2014.
Hurkus has been designed to fulfill a Turkish air force requirement for a primary and basic trainer, and negotiations are ongoing regarding a production contract. TAI hopes that Turkish Land Forces aviation will also adopt the Hurkus for its training needs. The air force is in the process of overhauling its training program, and TAI is currently building 40 KT-1T trainers under license from Korea Aerospace Industries to begin the replacement of the air force’s ageing Cessna T-37s. The company is also modernizing 55 Northrop Talon supersonic jet trainers with new avionics, and delivered the first T-38M back to the air force this April.
Hurkus is similar in general layout to other modern turboprop trainers, but has some notable differences. A requirement was a very low stall speed, and the design is the only aircraft in its class to feature area-extending Fowler flaps. Combined with an advanced TAI-designed aerofoil section they bestow a stall speed of just 77 knots. At the other end of the speed regime the 1,600-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68T pushes the Hurkus along at a 310-knot cruising speed. Endurance is 4 hours 15 minutes and g limits are +7/-3.5. The stepped cockpit provides excellent fields of view from both cockpits. The front seat offers forward visibility down to 10 degrees below the horizon, while the aft seat has a creditable 5 degrees of forward vision below the horizon. Both cockpits are fitted with Martin-Baker Mk 11BN zero-zero ejection seats.
Hurkus-A is the initial version, with a cockpit certified to civilian EASA CS-23 standards. Following will be the Hurkus-B, featuring GPS/INS, mission computer and a mil-spec cockpit with three large multifunction screens and a head-up display. TAI is planning further variants, including a surveillance version with an electro-optical sensor turret and a close-air-support version known as Hurkus-C, with three hardpoints under each wing and a seventh on the centerline.