Turkey’s ‘National Combat Aircraft’ Debuts At UK Airshow Along With Attack Chopper, Combat UAVs

Turkey is displaying some of the best weaponry in its defense sector at one of the world’s largest aerospace expos, Farnborough International Airshow 2022. 

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The Farnborough International Airshow (FIA), which is taking place in the United Kingdom from July 18 to July 22, is expected to attract top innovators from the aerospace, aviation, and defense sectors. The show is also a venue for business deals worth billions of dollars. 

Turkey hopes to benefit the most from this event by showcasing some of its best aircraft to bring international sales for its domestic aerospace and defense industry.

The National Combat Aircraft (MMU), Turkey’s landmark national fighter jet, is making its debut at the exhibition. Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is also exhibiting a simulator of MMU in the UK, according to the Daily Sabah. 

The TFX is a fifth-gen aircraft that looks somewhat identical to the American F-35 Lightning II. The indigenous warplane will eventually replace the F-16 jets, which are expected to be phased out by the 2030s.

Ankara had earlier unveiled a full-scale mock-up of TF-X/MMU at the Singapore Air Show in 2022. This was the first time that TAI had showcased an MMU model in Asia.

The TF-X mock-up at Singapore Air Show (via Twitter)

Earlier, a full-size mock-up of the TF-X was displayed at the Paris Air Show 2019. At that time, Turkey wasn’t yet expelled from the F-35 program by Washington.

As part of the expo, TAI is also putting on a show with its T129 Tactical Reconnaissance and Attack Helicopter (ATAK) and Hürkuş close air support aircraft and training aircraft. 

The ATAK is a twin-engine, tandem-seat tactical reconnaissance and attack helicopter that can operate in all weather conditions. The company also displays the T625 Gökbey, Turkey’s first indigenous multi-role helicopter. 

Turkish Aerospace has a significant presence at FIA2022 with this TF mock-up among the exhibits. – Twitter

The country’s unmanned combat aerial vehicles, Aksungur and Anka, are also present at the event. TAI General Manager Temel Kotil says that participating in Farnborough this year is “more meaningful” than in previous years.

“This year, the ATAK and Hürküş will be meeting with the audience here, but I hope that we will once again prove our country’s aviation development, technology, and success in production areas by participating in the next Farnborough fair with Hürjet and ATAK 2,” Kotil noted. 

Hürjet is a domestically developed advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft, while ATAK 2 is an upgraded version of the ATAK.

Farnborough Air Show 2022 

The Farnborough Air Show was first held at Farnborough Airport in 1948 and has grown to be one of the biggest aerospace expos. The event could finally take place this year for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak.

Visitors can enjoy exhibits from the aviation industry, including aerospace, defense, and sustainability. Each day will feature both static ground displays and aerial displays.

The 2018 show featured 96 nations, and orders and commitments totaling $192 billion were announced. Around 1,500 exhibitors are expected to participate this year, representing a wide range of products and services from every industry tier and sector.

S. Korea’s Black Eagles aerobatic team – Twitter

So far, there are said to be a total of 69 flying, static, and mock-up aircraft for this year’s show. This includes Boeing’s 777X, 737-10, Embraer’s E190 Tech Shark, VoltAero Cassio, and Cranfield Saab 340 flying lab, among those making their Farnborough debuts. 

The South Korean Air Force’s Black Eagles team, which will make daily appearances, is the highlight of the flying display segment. There are also flypasts from the RAF Red Arrows, the Blades aerobatic team, Historic Army Flight, and Aerosuperbatics wing walkers.

Other Aircraft like F-35s, P-8s, and Eurofighter Typhoon will also be participating in the event. 

The Black Eagles are performing a 25-minute show each day of the competition this year, conducting difficult air stunts like the wedge roll and the Taeguk sequence, in which their jets drew the shape of the Korean flag.

The commercial aerospace industry is also participating in the expo. The demand for flights has skyrocketed this year, jamming airports, especially in Europe, as most Covid-19 travel restrictions have been lifted in the West. 

Airlines have been rushing to rehire personnel that they fired during the pandemic. They will also purchase jets after canceling or delaying numerous orders over the last two years.

Boeing is attending Farnborough despite numerous difficulties, including ongoing regulatory issues with its 737 MAX aircraft. The model was a best-seller at the last Farnborough show, but after fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019, it was grounded for almost two years.

Also, sales of the MAX model have fallen short of rival Airbus A320. Chinese airlines recently awarded Airbus a massive order for 298 aircraft. Airbus has increased its production of the entire A320 family and has gained market share thanks to the A321neo, its most prominent model. 

However, as travel demand picks up after the worst of the pandemic, Airbus and Boeing are having trouble meeting airlines’ demand for new, fuel-efficient aircraft because of supply-chain issues.

During the expo, the aircraft manufacturers intend to highlight their latest products and technological innovations while announcing deals for brand-new passenger, cargo, and military aircraft.