HAVELSAN to cooperate with TAI for homegrown fighter jet

New cooperation has been initiated for Turkey’s TF-X National Combat Aircraft (MMU), a joint project of the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), between the TAI and leading defense company HAVELSAN, SSB Chairman İsmail Demir said Saturday.

Demir said in a written statement that when the project is completed Turkey will be among the countries capable of producing fifth-generation combat aircraft with the necessary infrastructure and technology, along with the US, Russia and China.

He noted that the project is ongoing amid necessary measures against the coronavirus pandemic that were given high priority in the defense industry.

Demir explained that the cooperation between the TAI and HAVELSAN will cover many fields, including embedded training and simulation, training and maintenance simulators, and engineering support in various fields, including in virtual test environments, project-level software development and cybersecurity.

Speaking on the cooperation, HAVELSAN Chairman Ahmet Hamdi Atalay said they have already started to form a team for the project.

The MMU is a fifth-generation jet with similar features to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II. The domestically built aircraft is being developed to replace the Turkish Air Force Command’s F-16 fighters, ahead of the gradual phasing out of the latter throughout the 2030s.

The homegrown fighter jet is expected to make a maiden flight using a domestic engine in 2029. Work to develop the engine also continues at full speed in cooperation with related institutions.