LONDON—Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) will debut a full-scale mockup of its TF-X/MMU indigenous fighter at the Paris Air Show next week.                                                                       

The company’s chief executive, Temel Kotil, and Turkish government officials are expected to lift the veil on the mockup on June 17, the show’s opening day.

Although already delayed by several years, the flagship program aims to roll out a prototype in 2023 and take flight in 2026 before deliveries to the primary customer, the Turkish Air Force, begin in the early 2030s. Turkey aims to replace its locally-assembled F-16s with the twin-engine, fifth-generation fighter. 

The unveiling is unlikely to distract attention from the growing spat between the Turkish and U.S. governments over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s planned purchase of a Russian-made S-400 ground-based air defense system and the potential threat it poses to Turkey’s planned buy of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Ankara is being prevented from participating in meetings of F-35 partner nations, and the U.S. is also threatening to halt the country’s industrial participation and delivery. Training of Turkish personnel on the F-35 has already been halted. Turkish Aerospace currently assembles the center fuselages, produces composite skins and weapon bay doors and manufactures fiber placement composite air inlet ducts. The company would suffer if Turkish program participation is frozen.

Turkish officials have said the S-400 purchase is a done deal, with the first elements of the system due to arrive in July.

The U.S. has also threatened sanctions that may impact other Turkish programs, including the TF-X, which will be reliant on U.S.-made General Electric engines for the initial prototypes.

Revealing the TF-X is part of a large Turkish Aerospace presence at this year’s show, which also includes mockups of the Hurjet jet trainer and the T625 Gokbey utility helicopter.