Turkey’s Aerial Might On Display! Supersonic Hurjet & Futuristic Combat UAV ANKA-III ‘Dance In The Sky’

In a stunning display of Turkey’s growing military might, two modern aircraft developed indigenously by the country—the trainer aircraft Hürjet and the unmanned Anka-III combat aircraft—took to the skies together.

According to reports in the local media, the ANKA-3 Flying Wing Unmanned Combat Aircraft and HÜRJET, Turkey’s first indigenously built supersonic jet, flew in formation. The test was noteworthy: The two aircraft ascended to 7,000 feet, flew at 165 knots, and spent 50 minutes in the air.

Turkish Aerospace Industries took to social media site X (previously Twitter) to announce that the ANKA III completed the eighth sortie and the HÜRJET the 66th in their recent joint flight. This could be the first time that the two aircraft flew together.

Netizens on X observed that it could be the beginning of a future collaboration given that Hürjet is a trainer aircraft and Anka-III an unmanned jet. This could be significant, according to analysts, since the TAI’s next-generation stealth aircraft ‘KAAN’ is planned to incorporate the concept of manned-unmanned teaming and flying with unmanned aircraft. A data link will connect the two.

Notably, the Anka-III flew for the first time last year. Efforts to develop ANKA III, which has brought unmanned aerial vehicle capabilities in the Turkish defense industry to a new stage, started in 2022. According to reports, development and tests of the ANKA III continue.

The Anka is a medium-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed for long-endurance surveillance missions. With an impressive endurance capability of up to 30 hours, the drone can operate at 30,000 feet and cover 250 kilometers. The prototype of the TAI Anka-3 stealth unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) made its first flight on December 28, 2023.

The flying wing type stealth UCAV, created by TAI, has a maximum takeoff weight of 6.5 tonnes and a payload capacity of 750 kilograms. It is 17.5 meters in length and has an 8-meter wingspan. With the development and testing of ANKA-III, Turkey has yet again positioned its aerospace industry among the best in the world. Not many countries globally have an unmanned aircraft in their arsenal — yet.

Defense News on X: "Turkish firm unveils Anka-3 combat drone ahead of maiden flight https://t.co/8Ynjxezg8O https://t.co/TgqPiJwARj" / X
Anka-III unmanned combat aircraft (via Platform X)

It is intended to handle a variety of missions, including electronic warfare, carrying precision-guided munitions, performing ISR operations, and flying autonomously while carrying out tasks — albeit these will likely be overseen or controlled by ground stations.

The ANKA-3 is about the same size as a light fighter, and its low-observable qualities are meant to make it resilient enough to withstand combat missions like electronic warfare, strike, observation, and the suppression and destruction of enemy air defenses.

Additionally, the TAI is working to bolster the aircraft’s capability. The latest flight comes days after the CEO of Turkish Aerospace Industries, Temel Kotil, reportedly said, “Now ANKA-3 is at high subsonic speed. But its 2-engine version will arrive soon. It will also be supersonic and will accompany KAAN.”

In addition to the Anka-III, there is the ingeniously developed Hürjet, an advanced jet trainer that also serves as a light attack aircraft.


Turkish Hürjet Is A Turkish Aerospace Marvel

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took to Twitter on April 25 to break the news of Hürjet’s maiden flight. Erdogan tweeted: “HÜRJET, our first domestic and national manned supersonic jet aircraft, successfully performed its first flight. Celebrate the Turkish Century!”

Although the announcement was made on April 25, the first flight occurred on April 23 from the main Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) site. During its first flight, an F-16 fighter jet was also seen flying alongside an unpainted Hürjet in official and unofficial videos surfacing on social media. The fact that the aircraft has carried out 66 sorties in over a year may be impressive to many.

Hürjet advanced trainer jet/Light Attack Aircraft (via Platform X)

Although the Hürjet concept dates back several years, the aircraft rose to the limelight after the Turkish military company won a contract to supply light combat aircraft (LCA) to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF).

Hürjet’s entry into the competition put it squarely against the Tejas jet of India for the Malaysian Light Combat Aircraft/Fighter Lead-In-Trainer tender. It was anticipated that both combatants would be serious competitors for the tender. At one point in time, analysts said that the Indian LCA Tejas had a lead over Hürjet because the latter had not carried out the maiden flight.

Unfortunately, both lost to the South Korean FA-50. However, much like India, Turkey continues its efforts to export aircraft. It recently joined Spain’s F-5 trainer aircraft replacement tender.

Last year, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) announced it is working on advancements for fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). It sees a large international market for its Hurjet advanced jet trainer.

Some analysts have said that the Hürjet is a challenger to Boeing T-7 Red Hawk aircraft which has remained marred in delays amid the burgeoning demand for an advanced trainer globally. The USAF chose the T-7 Red Hawk in 2018 to replace the more than 50-year-old T-38 Talon as its AJT.

“We have noticed the delay in the T-7 program, and we see a chance to catch up,” Professor Atilla Doğan, executive vice president for aircraft programs at Turkish Aerospace, told ESD at the Paris Air Show on  June 19, 2023. “We are hoping to offer the Hürjetto the international market before the T-7,” he added.

Hürjet is one of the many ambitious projects undertaken by the Turkish Aerospace Industries, of which Anka-III and Kaan fighter jets are also part. The advanced trainer is slated to perform its first overseas flight in Egypt this year in its bid to attract customers. The recent flight is a reminder that the aircraft has come a long way in just a year.