Indigenous and National KTJ-3200 Turbojet Engine Prepping for Firing Tests

The KTJ-3200 Turbojet Engine`s qualification process was successfully completed in 2021, and in the first half of 2022, serial production began at Kale Aero facilities. The KTJ-3200 Turbojet Engine was developed by Kale Arge with only domestic resources and no reliance on foreign sources since all components are designed and manufactured in Türkiye, making them not subject to export restrictions.

Issue 118 - October 2022

Kale Arge started the deliveries of the KTJ-3200 Turbojet Engines, the production of which was completed by Kale Aero under the Serial Production Contract, in the second half of 2022, following the completion of the Factory Acceptance Tests. In this context, some engines were delivered to ROKETSAN in the first batch for integration into missiles/platforms to be used in firing. The KTJ-3200 Turbojet Engines, whose tests have been completed, are first tested on the ground by the relevant missile manufacturer company before their actual use on the missile/platform. 

Although the KTJ-3200 was initially integrated into the SOM ALCM, the engine has also been modified for the ATMACA Anti-Ship Cruise Missile through modifications (changes to the interface and software, adjustments to the control/accessories, etc.). Thus, deliveries are currently being made for both SOM and ATMACA. The Serial Production Project also includes the phase of fire tests with the SOM and ATMACA. These tests, which are expected to be conducted in the coming period, will mark a significant accomplishment for the integration work that has already been largely completed.

In 2022, Kale Arge intends to complete the qualification of new engines (such as the KTJ-1750, KTJ-3700, and ARAT), as well as the integration and serial production of the KTJ-3200. During this period, Kale Arge also seeks to further develop and improve its manufacturing and test infrastructure. Considering the orders to be received from potential clients both at home and abroad, the company anticipates that more than 100 turbojet engines will be required each year.

Turbojet Engines Development Project and Creation of KTJ Series Gas Turbine Missile Engine Family

Within the scope of the Turbojet Engine Development Project Contract signed with the Presidency of Defense Industries on February 22, 2012, Kale Arge had to develop all necessary technology and critical subsystems on its own due to the fact that there was a severe lack of skilled human resources in Türkiye (both in terms of academic staff and workforce), technological infrastructure, and the ecosystem in the field of gas turbine engines at that time, and as a result, the project, which was planned to take four years, was completed in nine years. Since there was no business in Türkiye at that time with prior experience in the fields of Electronic Control Unit, Fuel Pump, Pyrotechnic Igniters, Alternator, and Bearing, which are the critical subsystems of the KTJ-3200 Turbojet Engine, Kale Arge had to develop and produce not only the core and main system of the engine, but also the subsystems within Kale Group, thus making a significant contribution to the creation of the ecosystem required for the development of gas turbine engines in Türkiye. For instance, it took more than two years to develop and produce the pyrotechnic igniter technology alone during that period. Similarly, it required close to two years of effort to complete the infrastructure work at the Kale Arge Tuzla Development and Test Center for the Altitude Test System, one of the most crucial instruments for the development of the KTJ-3200 Engine and which was entirely developed by Kale Arge.

However, with the KTJ-3200, Kale Arge has gained a lot of knowledge during these nine years and has mainly succeeded in realizing its goal of developing into a center of excellence that satisfies the turbojet engine needs of our country for missile engines. With the expertise, competent manpower, and technical infrastructure acquired through this project, Kale Arge has now advanced to the point where it is capable of working on four different KTJ Series turbojet engine development projects at once, each with a different propulsion capacity for both domestic and international customers. The company is now able to commission and complete new engine projects on a shorter timeline and extremely fast thanks to the expertise and high Technology Readiness Level developed throughout this 9-year period. For example, the KTJ-1750 Turbojet Engine Project, which was started to be developed in March 2021, went from the design phase to the captive test phase in just 15 months. The company is one of the few companies in the world in the field of gas turbine missile engines and is working to become the leading manufacturer in the field of small turbojet engines.

The KTJ-3200 Turbojet Engine, which was indigenously developed by Kale Arge, including all engine controls and accessories, and whose comprehensive tests were carried out in the Altitude Test System at Kale Arge Tuzla Development and Test Center, was made ready for acceptance in mid-2021. The delivery of the engines under the Development Contract, the acceptance process of which was completed, was accomplished, and the contract for the Integration of KTJ-3200 into National Air Platforms and Serial Production was signed in the second half of 2021.

The serial production of the KTJ-3200, which is fully indigenous and national turbojet engine, including all engine controls and accessories, as well as critical components such as bearings, is carried out entirely with domestic resources and with the maximum use of Kale Group's technical know-how and capabilities. Within this framework, the bearings, which are the most critical components of the KTJ-3200 and a product that is subject to export restrictions, were indigenized with the efforts of Kale Aero and several of its subcontractors during the serial production process. While the bearings were supplied from abroad throughout the development phase, the manufacturer ceased selling bearings during the serial production phase for the reason that the engine would be employed on missiles. As a consequence, the indigenous bearings (made of steel material) were designed by Kale Arge and produced by the sister company Kale Aero. Currently, the production of high-speed (with rotating speed of 40-50,000 rpm) aerospace bearings of different types for KTJ Series turbojet engines, especially KTJ-3200, is still ongoing.

The missile/platform integration of the KTJ-3200 Turbojet Engine was initiated in the last quarter of 2021, and the first delivery was made to TÜBİTAK-SAGE. Subsequently, the delivery was made to ROKETSAN for the integration into the ATMACA Anti-Ship Cruise Missile, and the airworthiness review on the missile with both SAGE and ROKETSAN has been accomplished to a large extent. 

KTJ-3200 Turbojet Engine

KTJ-3200 Turbojet Engine, consisting of a 4-stage axial compressor (compression ratio is close to 6, thus fuel consumption is low and thermodynamic efficiency is extremely high), annular combustion chamber, and a single-stage turbine, with a thrust power of 3,200N (Newton), is 63cm in length, approximately 30cm in diameter and 50kg in weight.

The KTJ-3200, an engine that has been developed and optimized over many years, has similar capabilities to its competitors in terms of performance and propulsion power, but has both a longer service life (both in terms of aerodynamic components, for example, a far more advanced turbine material is used in the engine, so the engine’s turbine is significantly prolonged, and the indigenously designed and produced bearings have a longer service life than their counterparts) and significantly lower fuel consumption values.

The KTJ-3200, which stands out with its low fuel consumption and its ability to be launched at different altitude/speed conditions, has been designed to operate at an altitude of 5,000m and Mach 0.95 in accordance with the operational flight envelope of SOM ALCM and ATMACA Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles. However, the start envelope of the KTJ-3200 is much wider compared to equivalent engines. This makes it possible to start the engine even at extremely low speeds. The Altitude Test System at Kale Arge Tuzla Development and Test Center has played a key role on the development and testing process of the KTJ-3200 engine, which features a pyrotechnic igniter and a windmilling capability. Kale Arge is currently working to improve the running/test altitude conditions of the Altitude Test System, an engine test system that can simulate altitudes of 0-5km and speeds up to 0.95M, to 10,000 meters for both the ARAT Project and the tests of the KTJ-3700 Turbojet Engine. In this way, the weather conditions 10,000 meters above the ground will be simulated, and testing will be performed to see how the engine responds to those circumstances