Turkish Air Force (TurAF) Interim Fighter Requirement & Ongoing Efforts Could Eurofighter be an Option for the TurAF`s Interim Fighter Requirement?

Today, Turkish airpower mainly relies on 4th Generation F-16 Fighting Falcons. The Turkish Air Force (TurAF) currently operates some 20 3+ Generation F-4E 2020s (which were planned to be replaced by F-35As and to be phased out of TurAF service by 2020 but now are expected to remain in service until 2025) and 234 4th Generation F-16C/Ds (TurAF has procured a total of 270 F-16C/Ds in three batches 160 under PO-I [34C and 9D in B30 and 102C and 15 in B40 configuration], 80 under PO-II [68C and 12D in B50 configuration] and 30 under PO-IV [16D and 14C in B50+ configuration] and a total of 38 accidents have been experienced so far. 2 of the F-16s were later repaired and returned to service. So, 234 F-16C/Ds remain in the inventory including 34 x Block 30TMs, 1 x Block 30TM ÖZGÜR Prototype and 29 Block 50M+s) aircraft.

Date: Issue 115 - August 2022

234 F-16C/D fighters in TurAF inventory are currently operated by 10 different Squadrons (113th, 401st, 132nd, 151st, 161st, 181st, 182nd, 191st, 193rd and 152nd) deployed at 7 different air bases (Eskisehir 1st MJB, Konya 3rd MJB, Merzifon 5th MJB, Bandırma 6th MJB, Diyarbakır 8th MJB, Balıkesir 9th MJB and İncirlik (Adana) 10th MJB) around Türkiye Most of them have been modernized to the latest Block 50+ standards under the Peace Onyx-III (PO-III) and F-16 MSM/CCIP Programs. The F-16C/D Fighting Falcon combat aircraft, that forms the backbone of the TurAF’s airpower, will be deactivated from service starting from 2030 and is to be replaced by Turkiye’s next generation National Combat Aircraft (abbreviated as MMU in Turkish), also known as TF-X. 

Türkiye is likely to procure some 150 to 200 TF-Xs (Main Contractor TUSAŞ’ production goal is 400) in the long term to replace F-4E 2020s and F-16s. The MMU/TF-X Program has become even more important for Türkiye since the F-16C/D combat aircraft, which forms the backbone of TurAF’s airpower, will be deactivated from service starting from 2030 (Block 30TM and Block 40M versions) and deliveries of F-35As to the TurAF were halted (procurement of up to 110 aircraft were planned) by the US Government in July 2019. On July 16, 2019, Türkiye’s participation in the F-35 MTU/JSF Lightning II Program as a Level 3 Partner was suspended indefinitely, only four days after the launch of the delivery of the first group of equipment of the first TurAF S-400 Triumph Area Air and Missile Defense System Battery to Mürted Airfield Command (about 30km to the northwest of the capital, Ankara) and the delivery of 5th Generation F-35A lightning II aircraft to the  TurAF was halted.