Turkey to develop engine for TF-X fighter with low IR signature
ANKARA, ($1=14.82 Turkish Liras) — The process for the production of the “Turkish original engine”, which will be used in the national combat aircraft [MMU – Milli Muharip Uçak means National Combat Aircraft] is beginning to become clear, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned, citing SavunmaSanayiST.com. Most likely, the engine will be developed by the company TAEC, which was created jointly by the Kale Group and Rolls-Royce.
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The MMU project, which was initiated by the Defense Industry Presidency to develop Turkey’s national fighter jet, continues under the TAI’s main contractor. MMU plans to leave the hangar in 2023, make its first flight in 2026 and enter the inventory of the Turkish Air Force Command in 2029.
Under the leadership of the presidency of the defense industries, various projects are launched to nationalize critical components to be used in the MMU. The most important of the above critical components is the original engine that will be used in the aircraft. MMU prototypes are expected to use the US-made F110 engine.
However, in the final configuration before the start of series production is planned to use a “unique original local production engine”. Turkey fears there will be no US permission to use the F110 in mass-produced aircraft, so the Turkish engine must be developed in the event of an embargo.
Turkish original engine
In this regard, here are the goals of the Turks: The engine should have a supercruise without afterburning, low IR signature, high fuel efficiency, and traction capacity of 29,000 pounds. In addition, the engine must be properly structured for the MMU to reach speeds of Mach 1.8 per 40,000 feet.
Who will design and manufacture the engine?
As Turkey has no experience in developing a turbofan engine before, it may work with a foreign partner to develop the original engine. Before that, the British company Rolls-Royce made an attempt in this direction, and together with the Kale Group in 2017 a company called ‘TAEC Aircraft Motor Industry Inc.’ was established. Kale Group, which owns 51% of the company’s shares.
However, due to disagreements on various issues, the TAEC Company could not operate for a long time. The President of the Presidency of the Defense Industry, Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir, in a statement made on March 25, 2021, said: “Rolls-Royce does not have a ready engine for this aircraft. They offered to develop an engine for this aircraft with a partnership they established in Turkey, but there were 5-6 items that we could not accept under the terms of this development. We negotiated with them for a long time and in most of them, we came to the desired end. At the moment, we think this is an understandable question. If they are ready, we can bring this business to a plus or minus point. From our point of view, the problem has reached a certain point and then depends on the other side (Rolls-Royce). The ball is on the opposite court.”
In a statement made by Demir in March 2022, “We also had the opportunity to work with Rolls-Royce for the national engine. We had some concerns here and resolved them as a result of the meetings we held. The work has begun.”
Turkey will gain experience in turbofan engines
Following these statements, the eyes turned to TAEC, which was established in partnership with Kale Group and Rolls-Royce. According to information received from Turkish sources, the Turkish engine is called Özgün and it will be developed by TAEC. With this project, Turkey will gain important competence and capacity in turbofan engines.
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