Turkish Aerospace (TAI) has big plans for Malaysia, whether or not it wins the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s (RMAF’s) competition for a light combat aircraft/fighter lead-in trainer (LCA/FLIT).
Speaking at DSA, the company’s president and CEO Prof Temel Kotil described a firm strategy to expand its recently-opened technology centre in Cyberjaya near Kuala Lumpur to 100 people, and to build its new T625 Gokbey (Skymaster) multirole medium-lift helicopter in Malaysia. A local partner is being sought for the latter effort.
Prof Temel outlined Turkish Aerospace’s ambitious plans to become one of the top ten aerospace companies worldwide, with a turnover of $10 billion by 2028. It is already building or designing four military aircraft, five helicopters, three Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), and four satellites. It also offers upgrade programmes for four military aircraft, and provides aerostructures to five OEMs.
The company’s offer for the Malaysian LCA/FLIT is the Hurjet, which is “almost ready to fly”, said Temel. It is powered by a General Electric (GE) F404, but is otherwise an all-Turkish product, including a Havelsan radar. The Turkish air force has ordered 16, for delivery from 2025. If Malaysia chooses the Hurjet, integration of the mission systems would be done at the Cyberjaya facility. Only the first three Hurjets would be built in Turkey, before production switches to Malaysia.
Turkish Aerospace is also bidding for RMAF’s requirement for three medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAS with the Anka, which has already amassed well over 90,000 flying hours. At the show, it signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with DEFTECH, the defence subsidiary of Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom to support the bid.
Prof Temel noted that the company’s Hurkus turboprop trainer, which is already in service, has similar avionics to those planned for the Hurjet, allowing a smooth pilot training progression. An armed version of the Hurkus is planned.
by Chris Pocock