TF-X National Combat Aircraft Development Programme & UK Industry

by İbrahim SÜNNETÇİ

Date: Issue 83 - July 2018 Update: July 15, 2018

In order to meet Turkish Air Force (TurAF) requirements beyond the 2030s, the TF-X National Combat Aircraft (Milli Muharip Uçak/MMU) Development Program was launched in accordance with Decision No 545 adopted at Defense Industry Executive Committee (DIEC) dated 15 December 2010. The MMU/TF-X was planned to replace the F-16C/D Combat Aircraft starting from 2030 and TAI was selected as the Prime Contractor and the Contract for Conceptual Design Development Project was signed between Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) and TAI on August 23, 2001.

Under the ‘Concept Development and Preliminary Design Phase’, which is the first phase of the Program, TAI designated SAAB Aircraft Company as their Technical Support and Assistance Provider (TSAP). Under the contract involving a 24-month schedule that came into force on 29 September 2011, between September 2011 - September 2013, Prime Contractor TAI prepared three separate conceptual designs with technical support provided by SAAB Aircraft. These three configurations are named as; FX-1 (configuration with double engine, back wing and conventional tail design such as F/A-18, EuroFighter, Rafale and Mig-29), FX-5 (configuration with single engine, back wing and conventional tail design) and FX-6 (configuration with single engine, broad delta wing and front wings). It is anticipated that a single engine fighter aircraft (FX-5 and FX-6) would feature between 50,000-60,000lb of maximum take-off weight (MToW) and the double engine concept (FX-1) will have 60,000-70,000lb of MToW. Performance analyses have been carried out on all three designs/concepts and it was seen that they all meet the TurAF’s requirements almost at the rate of 100%. Under the ‘Concept Development and Preliminary Design Phase’, on September 29, 2013 TAI submitted the report for the designs and the results of the efforts carried out during the past two years to the SSM.