Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has undertaken the first flight of the Hürjet advanced trainer/light attacker. Flown by a single test pilot and accompanied by an F-16 chase aircraft, the unpainted prototype made a 26-minute maiden voyage on April 25, reaching an altitude of 14,000 feet and a speed of 250 knots. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced the achievement on Twitter with an accompanying video.
TAI began the Hürjet program in August 2017 as a privately funded project. It gained official backing from the Türk Hava Kuvvetleri (THK, Turkish air force) in July 2018. The Hürjet draws on the modern avionics architecture developed for the company’s Hürkus turboprop trainer, but applied to a supersonic jet-powered aircraft. Power comes from a General Electric F404-GE-102 afterburning turbofan that provides 17,600 pounds of thrust. This gives the Hürjet a projected top speed of Mach 1.4 and a climb rate of 39,000 feet per minute. The airframe is rated at +8/-3 g loading, with a planned sustained turn capability at Mach 0.9 of 5.5g. Estimated range is 1,200 nm.
Hürjet’s performance makes it a highly suitable trainer for the fourth- and fifth-generation combat aircraft, such as Turkey's current F-16 and forthcoming MMU fighter. The advanced avionics also give students an experience much closer to what they can expect to encounter in a frontline fighter, with large cockpit screens and head-up display. Capabilities planned for the aircraft include integrated helmet-mounted displays and air-to-air refueling, while the fly-by-wire system features parameter-limiting so that the aircraft can be tailored to meet training requirements.
In THK service, the Hürjet will replace the aging Northrop T-38M Talon advanced trainers serving at Izmir, and also the Northrop NF-5 fighters used by the “Turkish Stars” national aerobatic team at Konya. In addition, the type will perform the lead-in fighter training role and could act as an aggressor in “Red Air” dissimilar air combat training. The Hürjet is also envisaged in close support and air policing roles to complement the F-16 force.