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TEI Career & Projects Event Shares Detailed Information on Current Engine Projects

In order to introduce TUSAŞ Engine Industries Inc. (TEI) that significantly gained ground in national and indigenous aviation engines in the last seven years, which designed, developed 10 different domestic and indigenous engines (4 jet fueled, 2 gasoline and 4 diesel engines), and launched the serial production of 5 these engines (TJ90, PG115, PD155, PD170-DT and PG50) to young people wishing to build a career at TEI, to provide first-hand accounts on the ongoing projects and answer the questions, on December 3, 2020 TEI President and CEO Prof. Mahmut AKŞİT, TEI R&D Director Dr. Mehmet DEMİROĞLU, TEI Turboshaft Engines Director Ahmet FINDIK and Human Resources and Administrative Affairs Director Yeliz ÇETİNKAYA gathered at the ‘Career at TEI and our Projects Event’ moderated by İbrahim BİLDİR and held at TEI’s premises in Eskişehir. The event was streamed live over social media accounts on YouTube and Twitter and followed by over 650 users. Officials of the company shared telling information on the ongoing TEI-TS1400, TEI-PD170 and TEI-PD222 Engine projects.

Issue 103

TEI President and CEO Prof. Mahmut AKŞİT started off by providing information on the TEI-TS1400 Turboshaft Engine developed as part of the Turboshaft Engine Development Project based on the contract signed on February 7, 2017 and officially launched (T0 started) on March 8, 2017 and is to be used initially on twin-engine T625 GÖKBEY Turkish Light Utility Helicopter (TLUH). Reminding the participants that they carried out a dry run with the help of the starter on the last day of 2019, AKŞİT pointed out that the first ignition with the core engine was accomplished successfully in January 2020 (the Presidency of Defense Industries -SSB- announced the first ignition on June 11, 2020) and added, “On October 22, 2020 (during the ceremony held on December 5, this date was published as September 22, 2020) we successfully ran our engine (TEI-TS1400 GM1 was the initial prototype engine) as a complete helicopter engine including the power turbine that rotates the propeller and we have been correcting the other minor deficiencies and completing the accessories since October 22nd. Our engine, our initial prototype is presently available for delivery to TUSAŞ. The delivery ceremony will be taking place soon, within December, with the participation of our President (the ceremony was held on 5 December 2020) and we will be delivering our first engine to be integrated to GÖKBEY.” 

The core engine named TEI-TS1200 CE1 in 2017 was later manufactured as the TEI-TS1400 CE1 and by 5 December 2020, nearly 250 hours of operational tests have been conducted with the core engine. Official tests for the TS1400 CE1 Engine supervised by the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) and Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) were accomplished in 2019. During the Acceptance Test executed on December 16, 2019, the engine achieved the maximum 29,535rpm and was run for 1 hour and 45 minutes. The longest operation test with the TEI-TS1400 CE1 was conducted on July 12, 2019 and the engine was run for 3 hours and 20 minutes throughout the test. The gear box configuration of the TS1400 CE1 was completely changed for compliance with the T129 ATAK Helicopter and the TEI-1S1400 DE1 (the unairworthy Development Engine 1 for the time being is the prototype engine to be used in integration and ground tests) was revealed upon the installation of the accessories. Within the scope of the Turboshaft Engine Development Project with a schedule of T0+8 years, it was planned for TEI to manufacture 12 to 14 prototypes including the core engine prototypes and the two certified TEI-TS1400 Turboshaft Engines with 1,400hp were planned to be integrated to the T625 GÖKBEY Helicopter for the scheduled execution of the flight tests after the development process. According to the project schedule the delivery of the flight-ready engine was planned to be conducted in T0+6 years and the certification process to be completed in T0+8 years. 

Pointing out that the engine to be delivered would be matured through being subject to numerous tests within a few years, AKŞİT stated that they were doing their best to fly the first serial production GÖKBEY Helicopter with the TEI-TS1400 Engine and were working to reduce the duration of the process as much as possible. Recalling that a certified engine was demanded for the GÖKBEY, AKŞİT said, “Certification takes a few years but our target is getting our engine ready for the first serial production GÖKBEY.” Regarding a question, AKŞİT mentioned that the TEI-TS1400 Engine was more powerful than the CTS800-4AT engine presently used in GÖKBEY for trial and the CTS800-4A Turboshaft Engine integrated in the T129A/B ATAK Helicopters and that it generated more than 100-150 horsepower (during the tests, 1,660hp was achieved, the TS1400 will have a power capacity of 1,400hp as a standard yet in emergencies it can generate 1,660hp for 30 seconds in case one engine is down). AKŞİT: “The reason for this was, in our contract they identified a challenging criteria for take-offs under difficult conditions in high altitude and hot air and thus we had to build a more powerful engine. Therefore, presently the engine is capable of generating 100-150hps more than its equivalent.” Elaborating on the different levels of power of the two engines in the introduction film prepared by the company for TEI’s delivery ceremony for the first TS1400 Turboshaft Engine prototype to TUSAŞ on December 5, AKŞİT said, “Compared to the imported equivalent engine, it generates 67 to 120hp more than the rival engine in both take-offs and maximum repetitive flight power and emergency (in case of the failure of one engine and flight with a single engine).” 

The Gendarmerie General Command (GGC/JGnK) seems to be the first user of the T625 GÖKBEY Turkish Class Lightweight Utility Helicopter. The Command’s 2019 Activity Report revealed the procurement of 20 GÖKBEY Helicopters to replace thirteen AB-205 Helicopters serving the Command. Turkish Aerospace (TUSAŞ) President and CEO Prof. Temel KOTİL attended the ‘National and Indigenous’ program on TRT Radio-1 on December 4, 2020, stating that the certification flights continued, KOTİL added that they wished to complete the GÖKBEY Project in 2 years and planned to manufacture two T625 GÖKBEY Helicopters per month, a total of 24 helicopters each year. Meanwhile, in a new year message published on December 31, 2020, KOTİL stated that, within the framework of a decision taken by the TUSAŞ Board of Directors, mass production of 3 T625 GÖKBEY Helicopters for the JGnK will be started in 2021 and the helicopters will be delivered in 2022, and from 2023 they will start to manufacture 2 T625 GÖKBEY Helicopters per month. 

In response to a question on whether they work over derivative engines such as turboprop, turbojet and turbofan using the TEI-TS1400 basics, AKŞİT stated that TEI did not only develop engines for the GÖKBEY Helicopter within the scope of the Turboshaft Engine Development Project, but also, they founded the infrastructure to design, develop, test and manufacture Turkey’s first turbine engine in real terms, colloquially known as the jet engine. AKŞİT continued, “It is not fully completed yet, our activities are being carried out, but we build most of it. This means that we are now capable of building the core of a jet engine. We can scale this and build larger engines. We are developing a helicopter engine for GÖKBEY, we can adopt it to our other helicopters, and can use this in our national ships, as the derivatives of aviation engines called ‘aero-derivative’. Our preliminary studies to this end continue, but they are at the early stage, we initially need to deliver GÖKBEY’s engine…” Answering a question on whether they will conduct a project on an electric engine in the near future as TEI, AKŞİT said that TEI launched an internal project with its own resources but they followed a hybrid structure in their own projects and added, “We have certain goals, we will transform our fossil fuel engine into a hybrid one with an electric engine, compensate the excessive power requirement particularly during take-offs and as the need for high power would diminish after take-off, we will save fuel through continuing the flight with the electric/fossil-fuel engine and increase our endurance…” 

TEI Turboshaft Engines Director Ahmet FINDIK shared information on the Accessory Gear Box and Electronic Control Unit (ECU) used in the TEI-TS1400 Turboshaft Engine as well as TEI’s TS1400 Engine’s certification process. Mentioning that the first prototype of the Accessory Gear Box, which is one of two critical components of the engine, was completed as of October 2020 and that they were still collaborating with both foreign and domestic partners to accelerate the execution of the project, FINDIK stated that they launched the development process of the Accessory Gear Box with a foreign partner since there were no products developed and manufactured in Turkey to date, and added that they designated a domestic supplier at the same time. FINDIK expressed that the prototype Accessory Gear Box completed in October was a product from foreign partners and added that the Accessory Gear Box prototype they developed with the local supplier was planned to be delivered in March 2021. FINDIK said, “After conducting the tests in May 2021, we plan to run the engine tests with the indigenous Accessory Gear Box in June.” Stating that they developed the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) - a critical accessory that controls the TEI-TS1400 Engine - fully with national resources, without any foreign partners, FINDIK stated that the design activities were completed for the time being and they benefited from the ECU in all the tests they have conducted so far. FINDIK said that they planned to launch and certify the ECU which they developed with domestic partners in the beginning of 2023. 

Noting that they applied to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA/SHGM) in 2019 for the certification of the TEI-TS1400 Engine and that they will be executing the process with the DGCA, FINDIK added that within this scope they will initially certify the engine with the certification authority of Turkey and that EASA certification would be considered if necessary. FINDIK presented the following information on the Serial Production process of the TEI-TS1400 Engine: “We plan to launch the certification tests in mid-2023. We have been conducting our activities over 1.5 years to finalize these tests rapidly. We wish to deliver our first certified engines by the end of 2024 and see our indigenous engines in GÖKBEY.” Ten CTS800-4AT Turboshaft Engines were procured in line with the agreement signed between TUSAŞ and LHTEC - a Rolls-Royce / Honeywell partnership on December 10, 2015 to be employed on the T-625 GÖKBEY Helicopter prototypes (P0, P1 and P2) and for ground and flight test processes under the Development & Prototype Production Stage. The aim was for GÖKBEY Helicopters to be manufactured under the Serial Production Stage powered by the domestic and indigenous TEI-TS1400 Turboshaft Engines. In the meantime, selected by the SSB as the Depot Level Maintenance and Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Center for the LHTEC CTS800-4A/AT Engines, TEI has been cooperating with Honeywell as part of the project that was launched in 2020. 

In his speech, TEI R&D Director Dr. Mehmet DEMİROĞLU informed participants on the TEI-PD170 and TEI-PD222 Turbodiesel Aviation Engines developed through indigenous resources for the Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) Platforms and Additive Manufacturing Technologies used in the production process at TEI. As it may be recalled, the TEI-PD170 Turbodiesel Aviation Engine was developed with indigenous resources as part of the Operative UAV Engine Development Project signed on December 27, 2012 with the SSB, to be employed on the ANKA Unmanned Air Vehicles and the serial production of 40 engines was ordered as part of the “TEI PD170 Engine Procurement Sub Contract” signed by TUSAŞ and TEI on November 23, 2019. Within the scope of the TEI-PD170 Turbodiesel Aviation Engine Serial Production Delivery Ceremony held on January 15, 2020 at TEI premises with the participation of the President of Defense Industries Prof. İsmail DEMİR, a total of 15 TEI-PD170 Engines composed of 13 engines ordered by the Naval Forces Command to be used in 4 ANKA-Bs and 8 ANKA-S UAV/AUAVs and 2 engines manufactured for the AKINCI UAVs were delivered and it was stated that the serial production of an additional 25 TEI-PD170 engines was to be conducted in 2020 and delivered to TUSAŞ as the second party. In the tests executed on the ground on 4 different engine test mechanisms, the TEI-PD170 Engine was run for a total of over 4,000 hours, it was installed over the ANKA Block-B UAV with tail number 17-025 in 2018 and despite the -10°C temperature, the first test flight was executed on December 27, 2018. As of January 2020, 13 TEI-PD170 Engines were delivered for the ANKA UAVs and it was declared that these engines were to be utilized in new production ANKA UAVs. The TEI-PD170 Engine was planned to be used over the AKSUNGUR UAV as well, but I have been informed that as of December 3, 2020, the AKSUNGUR UAV has been operating its flights with the TEI-PD155 Engines (noting that they were thinking of integrating the PD170 to both AKSUNGUR and AKINCI UAV platforms, TEI R&D Director Dr. Mehmet DEMİROĞLU confirmed in a way that the PD-170 was not yet flying over AKSUNGUR). In compliance with the high-altitude flight requirement of the TEI-PD170 Engine (30,000ft and over), certain design and technical arrangements on the engine were made and activities to that end were said to be continued. At TEI’s Career and Projects event I observed a chart displayed showcasing domestic and indigenous engine projects launched by the company in 2014-2020 and I was intrigued as the TEI-PD180-ST Engine was listed as having been developed in 2020. This new engine is perhaps a version of the PD170 adopted for the AKSUNGUR UAV for high altitude flights. By the way, on December 4, 2020, TUSAŞ President and CEO Prof. Temel KOTİL gave the good news on the launch of the indigenous production of the AKSUNGUR Armed UAV on the radio program titled National and Indigenous on TRT-1 Radio. We presume that the AKSUNGUR Armed UAV was ordered by the Naval Forces Command (TNFC/DzKK) and/or the Air Forces Command (TurAF/HvKK). A part of the ANKA Block-S orders (a total of 18) placed last year by the DzKK and HvKK, were expected to be changed into AKSUNGUR. 

Underlining that all of the design and analysis processes for the TEI-PD170 Engine were conducted by the engineers at TEI in Turkey, a large part of the production process was also realized in Turkey and just a minor part of this aviation engine was built with off-the-shelf parts, DEMİROĞLU continued, “As an engine qualified by the SSB, TEI-PD170 has successfully completed the most challenging EASA test and has proven itself many times. Except for the quite small part comprised of directly procured components, nearly all the parts are being manufactured at TEI’s premises or at our other sub-industry enterprises at Eskişehir…” Stating that they launched the serial production of the PD170 Engine as of 2020, DEMİROĞLU said, “To date, we have delivered over 20 engines to TUSAŞ. Within a few months, we will be completing the serial production of 20 more engines and delivering a total of 40 engines.” Mentioning that they presently aim for the serial production of around 40 or 50 TEI-PD170 Engines for 2021, DEMİROĞLU stressed that this figure may depend on the diversity of the platforms on which the engine will be used. DEMİROĞLU said, “It is available for use on ANKA UAV at the moment, but we are considering the integration the PD170 to both the AKSUNGUR and AKINCI UAV platforms, so the figures will increase further in the upcoming years!” While answering a question on the PD170’s export potential, DEMİROĞLU emphasized that export potential as well as competitiveness will increase in parallel with the increase of the flights over the platform and added, “We may come up with surprises in exports in 2021. I cannot talk much for the time being. We are working to achieve this.” 

Pointing out that the TEI-PD222 engine would be revealed before too long since it was built over the PD170 Engine that has already proven itself, DEMİROĞLU said, “Our activities are currently in progress, we aim to finalize our activities regarding the design by mid-2021 and we plan to integrate the engine to an air platform upon finishing platform integration activities towards the end of 2021. This platform may be an AKINCI UAV or another.” 

Additive Manufacturing Technologies are drawing great interest as the manufacturing method of the future due to the advantages it provides compared to conventional methods of manufacturing which enables the rapid production of parts with geometrical complexity while reducing the weight of the parts/components by decreasing the number of installed parts through integral production. The equipment causing geometric difficulties particularly in aircraft engine components in the Defense and Aviation Industry can be easily manufactured through additive manufacturing methods that allow structural optimization. Efforts towards developing an Additive Manufacturing Technologies Road Map under the guidance of the SSB was launched on September 20, 2018 and TEI was identified as the leading organization in this activity. At the event, TEI’s R&D Director Dr. Mehmet DEMİROĞLU shared the following information while responding to a question on TEI’s existing capacity in Additive Manufacturing Technologies and the main advantages and disadvantages of the products built through the utilization of this technology: “Additive manufacturing is a form of manufacturing that is regarded as the technology of the 21st century, and as the technology of the future, it is being invested in. Here, we are manufacturing parts using powder bed fusion. This method enables one to rapidly manufacture parts that one could not have built before, or even dreamed of building before. Speed is one of the advantages that the Additive Manufacturing method offers us. Speed is essential for us particularly during the prototype process of the indigenous products we are presently working on. The production of these parts that normally would take months through methods such as molding, etc. can be achieved in days or even in hours with the additive manufacturing method. TEI has been working on projects funded by our own resources and on projects in additive manufacturing areas funded by the Presidency of Defense Industries since 2013. So far, we have implemented and finalized many projects by using this technology and we are presently working on four or five more projects. We have a laser-beam additive manufacturing machine and an electron-beam machine. We are thinking of doubling this capacity in 2021, two more machines will be arriving. Moreover, we started a new project to manufacture and launch a an exceptionally large machine with one of our local manufacturers. Therefore, though it may seem smaller than the other manufacturing methods TEI’s capacity continues to increase. Furthermore, know-how in not only the machine but also in powder, process, topography, quality and surface treatments are required and we presently have this at TEI. Currently, most of our prototype production, our indigenous engines, in particular the PD170 and turboshaft engines are built with a significant amount of additive manufacturing. This enables us to further improve our capacity in this area while allowing us to use these parts in the engines we will be certifying in the future. Speaking of its disadvantages, it is a new technology now, there are many things to learn about it, we cannot use it in every field, and its certification processes are more challenging and not yet known. Then again, we will have overcome all these difficulties in the next 5 to 10 years and we aim to use the components manufactured through this method to a certain extent in our engines that will have been certified by then. In terms of public institutions and other companies, TEI is the leading and most accepted company in Additive Manufacturing Technologies in Turkey. We own this capacity; we are proceeding by increasing our capacity and are ready to become one of not only Turkey’s but also the world’s leading companies.”