Turkish Indigenous Helicopter Program
The objective of the Indigenous Helicopter program is the local design, development and production of civil certified light utility/training helicopters for the government and public sector. The project scope includes local design, development and production of civil certified light utility helicopters based on the capabilities acquired under the T-129 ATAK [PAH-2 Tiger built in Turkey] and T-70 Turkish Utility Helicopter [TUHP, Sikorsky S-70 Blackhawk built in Turkey] Programs.
This is not a single helicopter project, but rather a helicopter family. The aim is to produce at least 4 models, to catch the opportunities open in foreign markets. Turkey is also a good market for the produce of its own helicopter designs. The air fleet of the Security General Directorate (EGM - Police Department) will be an important part of the market the "original Turkish Helicopter" project, with a police user inventory of 80-100 light and medium twin-engine helicopters.
On June 15th, 2010 Defense Industry Executive Committee appointed TAI as the Prime Contractor for the "Indigenous Helicopter" Program. Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) released the RFP on May 18th, 2012 and TAI submitted the Proposal on October 2nd, 2012. The dates for projects that will make Turkey a regional power and add strength to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in counter-terrorism were finalized in March 2012. According to the strategic plan prepared by the Turkish Undersecretariat of Defense Industry, the first indigenous ATAK helicopterwill be ready in 2013.
A feasibility report for the construction of the Turkish Indigenous Helicopter, which is included among the targets planned for meeting the requirements of the Turkish Defence Industries with national means, was prepared and submitted to the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) by STM.
In the report, which was completed in quite a short time as a result of the interviews made with various agencies and organizations and analyses of national and international publications in the field, Turkey’s military and civic helicopter inventory was created and user-based numbers, models and ages of the helicopters were identified. Surveys were made regarding the needs of Turkish users, and the class and specific design features of the helicopter that may be seen as the initial target in case design and production of an indigenous helicopter is preferred were identified.
Furthermore, in the report that takes a detailed look at the trends in world markets and the industry, it was assessed that a double-engine light/mid class general-purpose helicopter would be a good choice for starting helicopter design and production activities in Turkey and also for potential markets.
In the comprehensive report, procurement methods were examined, and “national development”, “co-development with a foreign partner”, “licensed production and system integration rights” and “comparison of direct purchase methods” were analyzed, and it was pointed out that except for the national development option, the national industry will not have the necessary knowledge and experience for any of the other methods. It was expressed that in case the national development option is considered, the design infrastructure will be more critical compared to the production infrastructure.
In the report prepared by field experts of STM, the gaps of the Turkish helicopter Industry were identified and it was stated that the priority areas for improvement are the helicopter powertrain, rotor roots and impellers and hydraulic systems.
In the report, the current situation of Turkey’s helicopter industry infrastructure in terms of production and design capabilities was identified, using as a reference the information requested from national companies on the basis of a refractive tree for helicopters. It was emphasized that reaching the target of building an Indigenous Helicopter will be possible if all works are controlled from a single point and if with a realistic planning the facilities of the Turkish Defence Industry are used with some additional investments in deficient areas.
STM has prepared a lot of Feasibility and Strategy Documents in many areas in the past for the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries. Identifying hi-tech platforms/systems/devices fitting the national concept/strategies for the defence requirements of the Turkish Armed Forces and offering solutions to increase national contribution or all-national production is a part of the mission undertaken by STM.
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