Turkey has unveiled its TF-X next-generation fighter built by Turkish Aerospace Industries, or TUSAS. It aims to become complete by 2030s.
The first prototype of the TF-X — the program is known as Milli Muharip Ucak (MMU, or National Combat Aircraft) in Turkey — is now on the assembly line in Ankara.
The model comprises a degree of stealth characteristics, advanced avionics, and a high level of performance.
Turkey chose the General Electric F110 family of afterburning turbofans — specifically the F110-GE-129 or F110-GE-132 — to power the fighter, but the breakdown in U.S.-Turkish relations in general for a while made that seem quite unachievable. More recently, the relationship has shown signs of improvement, including talk of a potential F-16 sale.
The F110 has already been assembled under license in Turkey and its -100 and -129 variants power Turkish F-16C/Ds.
The use of Russian engine is also tricky now due to Russian invasion of Ukraine.
There can be a domestically produced engine but it will be built by 2038.
This new reality has led to a rethinking of how the Turkish Air Force will be roughly 240 F-16C/D Fighting Falcons that make up the bulk of the combat fleet.
Now that the F-35 will not be happening, Turkey is finding ways to get more out of the F-16 fleet. The country will now buy 40 new F-16 Block 70/72 jets plus kits to upgrade another 80 of its existing F-16C/Ds to the same standard. They also aim to bring Bayraktar Kizilelma drone, which will be the country’s first unmanned fighter aircraft, but which is yet to fly.
There is the issue of engine and the funds for the the TF-Xprogram.
With time, Turkey’s need for new fighter jets is only going to expand.