By Kaan Azman
Turkiye’s National Combat Aircraft (Also known as TF-X/MMU) left the hangar before the planned date 18 March 2023, achieving an important milestone on its way to the first flight. President of the Defence Industries Agency Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir made the following statement regarding the National Combat Aircraft prototype’s exit from the hangar:
“In the loving memory of our matyrs! We stated that we would roll our National Combat Aircraft out of the hangar on 18th of March before. Today, our aircraft is at the runway.”
The latest iteration of National Combat Aircraft’s design is notable for some differences compared to the renderings and mock-ups exhibited previously:
- Larger radome for ASELSAN’s BURFİS (Integrated Radio Frequency System) Multipurpose AESA Radar
- Sharper profile, especially on nose (Better shape-based stealth characteristics)
- Secondary IRST or EO system with concealment (Concealment will reduce any possible impact on stealth and aerodynamics)
- Serrated edges on various parts/panels
A Recap of National Combat Aircraft (TF-X) Program
National Combat Aircraft’s first protoype was revealed on 23 September 2022 at production line and mission computer was delievered to TUSAS on the following day.
F-110 turbofan engines intended for prototype stage and landing gear had been integrated to the first prototype by 26 December 2022 and the prototype was showcased alongside the munitions to be used by National Combat Aircraft. TUSAS CEO Temel Kotil stated that thanks to TUSAS’s experience with F-110 turbofan engines’ integration on F-16 fighter jets, the integration of engines on the first prototype were completed in 2 hours.
Significant changes in the project schedule were announced in January 2023. Temel Kotil announced that date of first flight was shifted from 2025 to the end of 2023 during an interview with CNN Turk. First flight of National Combat Aircraft will be conducted with Test and Development Prototype.