Undeterred by its ouster from the F-35 project, Turkey is working on its ambitious TF-X National Combat Aircraft (MMU).
Temel Kotil, general manager of Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), which is the main contractor of the project, told government-owned Anadolu Agency that the production process is progressing well and that the prototype, which includes avionics, control and hydraulic systems, will be unveiled for the first time on March 18, 2023.
The MMU will consist of around 20,000 parts. Stating that the production of the MMU's parts will be completed by the end of 2022, Kotil said: “The most important part of the MMU is the titanium parts holding the engines. This is the most difficult part to manufacture.”
“However, the company has extensive experience and knowledge in such manufacturing," he said as they are making the midbody of the F-35s.
The official added that a ready-made engine will be used to power the engine in the beginning. A new engine developed by TRMotor will be integrated into the aircraft later.
TAI has tied up with many local and international firms to build the jet.
"We have Aselsan for avionics and computer hardware, we have Havelsan for software, TAI also has its software team,” Kotil said.
The actuators, which provide movement of the wings and control surfaces in warplanes, will be produced by TAI in partnership with Altınay and an Ukrainian company.
TAI is working to produce the transparent canopy surrounding the cockpit locally, Kotil continued and said: “There is a very effective radar in the nose of the plane. We gave this task to Aselsan, they are working on it. There are sensors on the plane, produced by both Aselsan and Havelsan."
The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey’s (TÜBITAK) Information Security Advanced Technologies Research Center's (BILGEM) is developing the central computers.
Pavotek, another Turkish company, is developing the power distribution system.
The hangar prepared for the combat aircraft is set to be completed this year. Due to the high confidentiality level of the MMU project, the hangar specifically tailored for the aircraft will be an isolated structure, he said and will have its own communication infrastructure and high-calculation computers.
The company has formed a partnership to develop and produce the landing gear that will carry a load of 60 tons, which is the force emerging during landings.