Nine Turkish companies will have booths at this year’s show, with Ankara’s presence headlined by airframer Turkish Aerospace, who will be displaying their ever-growing product range, including a full-scale mockup of the country’s ambitious indigenous fighter aircraft, TF-X/MMU, was unveiled at Paris Air Show by company CEO Temel Kotil.

Turkish Aerospace hopes to fly the twin-engine, 60,000-lb. (27-ton) fifth-generation fighter in 2026 and bring the aircraft into Turkish Air Force service in the early 2030s, replacing the country’s fleet of fleet of locally assembled F-16 Fighting Falcons. Prototypes will be powered by the General Electric F110 engine, but production aircraft will feature a nationally developed powerplant produced by Ankara-based TR Motor Power Systems, a joint venture of Tusas and BMC Power Motor, the majority shareholder – part of the larger BMC automotive group.

Design of the TF-X is being supported by Britain’s BAE Systems, which now has some 100 engineers based in Ankara supporting their Turkish counterparts.

Turkish Aerospace is planning to grow its engineering complement significantly in the coming years to focus on the fighter project.

Last month, at the IDEF defense show in Istanbul, the company showed off a concept of future cockpit technologies, using of a single-wide-area display like that on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, but supplemented with a helmet-mounted sight capable of projecting augmented reality displays that can be manipulated through hand gestures.

Artificial intelligence would support a flight leader, providing the pilot with data and suggestions on which aircraft in a flight would be best suited to attack a particular target.

Turkish suppliers such as Aselsan, also present here at Paris, are already working on avionics systems and sensors including an indigenous active electronically scanned array radar, and indigenous weapons are also envisaged. To support the TF-X program Turkish Aerospace is establishing new infrastructure in Ankara, with the government last year providing funding for production facilities, while in May agreements were signed with Canadian company Aiolos to build a supersonic wind tunnel to support TF-X and other future programs.

Development of the TF-X will likely be preceded by that of the Hürjet, an advanced jet trainer which the company hopes will replace the Turkish Air Force’s fleet of Northrop T-38 Talons.

The trainer is being displayed in mockup form; engineers have recently completed wind tunnel work confirming the configuration, while a preliminary design review is due to take place imminently and a first flight is planned for 2022.

Engine selection is between the Eurojet EJ200 and the General Electric F404, which also powers the Korean Aerospace T-50 and the Saab Gripen.

Development of the Hürjet is being internally funded, with the aim of developing and bringing the aircraft to market with speed.

“Commercial development programs cost much less than defense programs,” Kotil told Aviation Week in May. “If someone else defined the requirement, we would probably end up with the same thing.”

Kotil took a similar approach with the recently launched Aksungur twin-engine, high-payload-capacity unmanned air system UAS, which flew for the first time in March, 18 months after the board decision to launch the project. The Anka UAS from which Aksungur was developed will also be on display in mockup form.

The company is also pressing ahead with its rotary-wing programs, including the T625 Gokbey utility helicopter, which made its first hop last September, while the first all-up prototype was due to fly imminently. The six-metric-ton dual-use platform has been designed to meet a Turkish need to replace its Bell UH-1 operated by the army and air force, with as many as 100-150 aircraft envisaged for this role alone. There is also interest from the Turkish police and coast guard. Production of the aircraft is due to get under way by the end of 2021.

The company will also fly its T129 ATAK attack helicopter development of Leonardo’s Mangusta in the flying display at this year’s show. The type has secured international interest from Pakistan and the Philippines.

Other Turkish companies present include missile manufacturer Roketsan and Tusas Engine Industries, which is currently developing an indigenous turboshaft for the Gokbey that could also feature on the T129. Accelerated development of that engine, named TS1400, is expected to result in engines available for testing in 30 months’ time.