IDEF’19: Turkish Hürjet Approaches PDR Despite Program Delays

 - May 6, 2019, 4:27 AM
The Hürjet mock-up was displayed at this year's IDEF show in Istanbul. It made its first international public appearance at Farnborough in July 2018. (Photo: Beth Stevenson)

Supplier selection delays with Turkish Aerospace’s Hürjet light attack/trainer aircraft development have pushed the program back by some six months, the company said, although the aircraft is on track to complete a preliminary design review (PDR) in June, with a first flight set to take place in mid-2022.

The company recently completed wind tunnel testing of the outer frame, although it is yet to finalize selections for key parts of the aircraft, including engine, avionics, radar, and ejection seat. The delay is attributed in part to the program having inherited a number of suppliers from its development of the Hürkuş turboprop trainer, leading to a number of issues having to be resolved.

The program has been delayed by around six months, although the company claims that an undisclosed engine selection has now been made, which will be provided by a foreign company, a company representative told AIN at the IDEF exhibition in Istanbul, at which a full-scale mock-up of the aircraft was on display.

Hürjet will be an indigenous replacement for Turkey’s Northrop T-38 Talon trainer but will add more capabilities, including a light attack role. A company representative said that the planned performance of the aircraft has so far been verified via the outer mold line wind tunnel testing.

Under a so-called protocol agreement between the Turkish air force, Turkey’s SSB defense procurement agency, and Turkish Aerospace, the development of the Advanced Jet Trainer program was initiated in 2017, although it is currently solely being internally funded by the company. The next phase is expected to result in funding being allocated by the Turkish government to continue the development of the aircraft, and a project development document is currently being written. The program is due to complete its PDR—considered by Turkish Aerospace to be slightly further into the schedule than a Western program’s PDR and closer to a critical design review milestone—by the end of June, three years ahead of a first flight test that is scheduled to take place in June 2022.

The new version of the company’s turboprop trainer, the Hürkuş-C, meanwhile, completed its test flight campaign at the end of 2018. This version doubles up as a light attack aircraft due to the inclusion of hardpoints. The company representative said that the new version is lighter, faster and stronger than previous variants, and has less drag than other Hürkuş variants.

There is currently no contract in place with the Turkish ministry of defense for the Hürkuş-C, the company said, although a quote has been provided to the government for this version for consideration. Turkish forces operate both the -A and -B versions of the aircraft, meanwhile, and three of the latter variant have so far been delivered for operational test and evaluation to Izmir air station, said a Turkish Aerospace representative. By the end of summer, deliveries of the first batch of 10 will be made, he added, after which serial production is expected to begin.