TF-X Mockup Makes Singapore Debut

The TF-X model at Singapore Airshow.
Credit: Aviation Week Network

SINGAPORE—More than 2.5 years after making its international debut, Turkish Aerospace Industries’ (TAI) full-scale mockup for the TF-X fighter is making a second appearance outside its home country this week in Singapore.

The mockup of Turkey’s bid to introduce an indigenous fifth-generation fighter into service by 2031 will greet show visitors in the static display area.

The Singapore Airshow appearance by TF-X comes nearly 32 months after TAI unveiled the mockup and the first details of the aircraft’s performance requirements at the Paris Air Show in June 2019.

Since the Paris debut, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced TAI to limit public appearances of the TF-X mockup to domestic events, such as the exhibit hall at IDEF in Istanbul last August.

In Singapore, the TF-X mockup highlights TAI’s bold ambitions for its corporate growth and the company’s expansion plans in the Asia-Pacific region.

The first TF-X export deliveries are still at least a decade away, but TAI has other near-term opportunities in the region. Notably, Malaysia is considering the TAI Hurjet as a lead-in trainer and light combat fighter in competition with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s Tejas.

In the months before the air show, TAI has been building up its presence in the region. A company-owned engineering and design office was opened in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, in November. A month later, TAI signed an agreement with the Universiti Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology, launching collaborative efforts on research, technical training and teaching.

TAI plans to roll out the first nonflying TF-X prototype in 2023, then fly the first Block 0 aircraft three years later.

Steve Trimble

Steve covers military aviation, missiles and space for the Aviation Week Network, based in Washington DC.