Hürjet - Jet Trainer Aircraft (T-X) Freedom Trainer
Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. (TAI) launched a project named as “Advanced Jet Trainer & Light Attack Aircraft (Hürjet) Project” on 14 August 2017. It is aimed to develop a jet trainer and light attack aircraft primarily to meet the needs of Turkish Air Force (TurAF) and international market. The main aim of the Project is to replace existing TurAF T-38 Trainer Aircraft. Hürjet’s Light Attack configuration will share the role of F-16 Aircraft as Lead-in Fighter Trainer and Close Air Support in the 2020's with its 3000 kg payload. Hürjet is expected to be used for Close Air Support, Red Aircraft and Air Policing (or board security and counterterrorism) missions by Turkey and allied countries.
Main objectives of the project are:
- Fulfillment of the TurAF’s operational, functional and performance requirements regarding jet trainer and light attack aircraft, by designing and developing an indigenous system utilizing readily available technologies to keep the unit and ownership costs low.
- Replacement of the current TurAF T-38 fleet, consisting of about 70 aircraft. The production volume may increase depending on the “Light Attack Aircraft” needs of TurAF and/or potential customers.
The maximum speed of Hürjet will be Mach 1.2; the maximum altitude will be 45,000 ft. and it will be equipped with modern flight, mission and training systems. The length of the aircraft will be 13.4 meters, the wings will have a span of 11 meters, and the height of the tail is four meters with 3000 kg payload capacity.
The Hurjet may be powered by a single Williams International FJ44-4M engine, part of the FJ44 family of turbofans in use by such types as the Swedish Saab 105, the Czech Aero L-39 Albatros and Italian Leonardo M-345. This puts estimated thrust output anywhere between 2,000 and 3,500lb. The same engine fit was proposed with the SNC Freedom trainer concept. Other sources suggest it was considered to produce the Ukrainian Sich AI-222 class of turbofan engines under license in Turkey.
The new Turkish jet plane "Hurjet" attracted much attention at the airline in Great Britain in July 2018. On the tail of Hürjet, which is a digital camouflaged on the furrow, the eagle figure, which is the symbol of the Turkish nation and the Turkish Air Forces, has appeared throughout history. While there are a lot of questions about digital camouflage preference, this choice was the subject of evaluating whether to create a new trend in the introduction of aircraft designs.
Hurjet, a Turkish-made jet plane designed for training, was introduced at the 2018 international fair in Farnborough, near London, and immediately attracted the attention of the audience. The Turkish Aviation and Space Industry (TUSAS) designed "Hurjet" as part of a project to develop a jet aircraft for training and support.
The Turkish Air Force plans on acquiring around seventy Hurjets to succeed its aging fleet of T-38 trainers. It is expected that the prototype of the aircraft will be carried out very quickly by test flights, and the commissioning of this aircraft is scheduled for 2023.
The Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) of the United States was, at one point, a player in the USAF T-X advanced jet trainer competition. SNC's own T-X design is being used as the framework for the Hurjet project given similar requirements. SNC and TAI were joint partners in the short-lived T-X "Freedom Trainer" offering intended to succeed the aging fleet of Northrop T-38 Talon jet trainers in service with the USAF.
It turned out that TAI redesigned HÜRJET on the Ukrainian model instead of the US in the jet training airplane project. While TAI was publishing the new HURJET design site, it was observed that HURJET changed the single tail and wing extensions instead of the previously designed double vertical tail. Despite the partnership plan with the US SNC company in the previous design of TAI, it is considered that this preference has been revised according to the engine and avionics systems to be taken from Ukraine. The Jet Trainer Aircraft (T-X) and Fighter Aircraft [TF-X] Conceptual Design Project conducted a “Conceptual Design” study to design and produce prototypes for modern platforms that meet Turkish Armed Forces needs. It would substitute Turkish Air Forces existing T-38 Trainer Aircraft and F-16 Fighter Aircraft to be replaced in the 2020's, by employing domestic capabilities to the maximum extent possible. The project aims to maximize the utilization of existing domestic capabilities, identify critical technologies during the development and production phases of the aircraft and coordinate the planning of industrialization requirements.
On 23 August 2011 the agreement for “Jet Trainer and Fighter Aircraft Conceptual Design Project” was signed between the Undersecretariat for the Defense Industries (SSM) and Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI) to begin a national fighter jet project. Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz, Air Forces Commander Gen. Mehmet Erten and Defense Industry Undersecretary Murad Bayar attended the signing ceremony held in Ankara.
Within the framework of the agreement, in order to meet the 2020 and on “Jet Trainer and Fighter Aircraft Conceptual Design Project” aircraft, the following will be realized:
- Determination of the operation requirements,
- Activities of necessity analyze
- Definition of the concept of the aircraft and system / sub-systems,
- Feasibility of national potential and capability,
- International cooperation models.
By the end of the agreement, the results of the technical and administrative activities will be evaluated by SSIK and decision will be made for the next step.
Aviation Week reported in December 2016 that privately held Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) were collaborating on a clean-sheet trainer – designated ‘Freedom Trainer’ – for the US Air Force T-X program. SNC is owned by husband and wife Fatih and Eren Ozmen, Turkish-Americans who acquired the company in 1994. The company has grown from 20 employees to nearly 3,000, and claims 34 locations in the United States, England, Germany, and Turkey.
The SNC-TAI Freedom Trainer will be a lightweight twin-engine trainer with an all composite airframe. It will be powered by two Williams International FJ44-4M business jet turbofans, each providing 16.01 kN in thrust. The engine also powers the Leonardo M-345 and Aero L-39NG. With a fully digital fly-by-wire (FBW) flight control system, the Freedom Trainer is envisaged as advanced, but also cost-centric. The significant use of existing off-the-shelf subsystems was part of that decision, so as to produce a design without an expensive research and development overhead.
The Freedom Trainer will meet the T-X RFP requirements, including 6.5 to 7.6-g sustained and high angle-of-attack (AoA) maneuverability. However, SNC and TAI also aim to make the Freedom Trainer less costly to procure and operate than its competitors, especially in terms of fuel consumption. The Freedom Trainer will be offered by Freedom Aircraft Ventures LLC, a joint SNC-TAI subsidiary based in Centennial, Colorado. With an expected requirement of at least 350 units, the USAF T-X program is the largest single opportunity for many – and evidently, an increasing number of – aviation vendors.
TAI’s entry in this space is interesting considering that the company is offering a basic trainer in the form of the Hürkus, which it is pitching as a T-37 replacement. The inclusion of the Freedom Trainer in the lead-in fighter-trainer (LIFT) or fighter-conversion unit (FCU) space gives TAI a complete training portfolio (i.e. the Hürkus for basic flight training and the Freedom Trainer for fighter-conversion).
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