Turkey's first indigenous multirole helicopter, the T625 Gökbey, will make its first flight powered by a locally-built engine in this year.
“Certification and development test flights of the Gökbey are continuing successfully. The home-grown engine has been integrated into the helicopter. We test a new feature or a new capability and the pilots quite like it,” TAI Helicopter Vice General Manager Yıldırım Kemal Yıllıkçı told Anadolu Agency (AA) on the sidelines of Turkey’s Teknofest event.
Turkish Aerospace Industries built the T-625 helicopter. The engine was developed by TAI’s Engine Industries (TEI).
Yıllıkçı noted that when Gökbey begins using the TEI engine, Turkey will be among only six or seven nations in the world that truly builds a helicopter with local resources.
“Some countries develop helicopters, but they do this with the emphasis on joint work, such as taking their engine and dynamic system from a certain helicopter and adapting them to their own,” he said, stressing that the gearbox, blades, rotor, hub system, avionics systems and landing gear of the Gökbey are already locally designed and produced.
T-625 Gökbey’s Engine Background
In September 2018, T625 rotorcraft powered by two CTS-800-4A turboshaft engines completed its maiden flight. This engine is also fitted on T129 ATAK gunship which is built by TAI under license from Italian-British AgustaWestland.
The T625 was earlier equipped with LHTEC T800-4As built by Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company (LHTEC), a joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Honeywell. Each engine can produce 1,014 kilowatts of output power. The T800-4A is an export version of the CTS800 engine, which Turkey selected to power Turkish Light Utility Helicopter (TLUH) in 2015.
TAI’s Helicopter Programs
The company is currently running four helicopter programs including building of five-ton T129 Tactical Reconnaissance and Attack Helicopters (ATAK) and T70 General Purpose Helicopter.
“A new version of ATAK gunship has been launched and its acceptance work continues. The helicopter can be used in different configurations and purposes with additions,” Yıllıkçı said.
The official added that that they have also reached the preliminary design stage in the Heavy Class Attack Helicopter Program, the report said.
"We are designing a 10-ton new generation ATAK helicopter,” he said, noting that their design may carry units such as avionics and ammunition systems by Turkish defense contractors ASELSAN and Roketsan.
Commenting on the company’s T-70 multi-role utility helicopter project, Yıllıkçı said that a special avionics configuration is being developed on the aircraft. “Once its tests and qualifications are complete, the helicopter will be ready to fly,” he said.