By Tony Osborne
LE BOURGET: Turkish Aerospace has debuted a full-scale mockup of its proposed T925 11.5-metric-ton heavy rotorcraft at the Paris Air Show here.
Dominating the company’s sizable display, the T925 forms part of its growing rotorcraft family, which also includes the T625 Gokbey twin-engine utility helicopter and two attack helicopters: the T129 ATAK, currently operational in Turkey and with export customers; and the T929 ATAK 2, the first prototype of which made its first flight in April.
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Turkish Aerospace has been developing its concept for a heavy helicopter for several years. It was previously understood to be largely focused on military requirements, potentially replacing larger helicopters in service with Turkey’s military, including its Airbus Cougar and perhaps the Russian-supplied Mi-17s flown by the country’s military police, the Jandarma. But the red scheme in which the aircraft is presented suggests Turkish Aerospace is also seeking a commercial role for the platform.
Commercial missions envisioned for the T929 include passenger transport, offshore energy support, search and rescue, and VIP tasks.
The 20-m-long, twin-engine rotorcraft will likely lean heavily on Turkish Aerospace’s experience in developing the ATAK 2, and probably use the same dynamic systems and engines. The ATAK 2 prototype is currently using the Motor Sich TV3-117 turboshaft in flight testing, although Turkish industry plans to develop its own family of indigenous turboshafts to power the aircraft.
In April the OEM completed the first flight of the Gokbey equipped with the indigenous TUSAS Engine Industries (TEI) TS1400 powerplant, developed as a drop-in replacement for the Honeywell/Rolls-Royce-developed LHTEC T800 powerplant which has powered the T625 development aircraft. Turkish Aerospace is expected to deliver the first T625s powered by the T800 to the Jandarma soon.
Current plans call for production of around 24 Gokbey helicopters per year in 2025 and ramping up to as many as 40 a year in 2027.