Turkey's planned 'screeners' will replace older SF 260 primary trainers assembled in the early 1990s under Italian license. (Finmeccanica)
ANKARA — Nine local and foreign companies have purchased competition dossiers from Turkey’s procurement agency, indicating their intention to bid on providing new basic trainer aircraft.
The Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) said Dec. 1 that likely bidders in the race are: Turkish companies GATE Elektronik San. ve Tic. A.S., Nurol Makin eve Sayani A.S., THK Uçak Imalat San.ve Tic. A.S. and Kocoglu Havacilik A.S.; Austria’s Diamond Aircraft Industries; Czech Republic’s ZLIN Aircraft; Germany’s Grob Aircraft; Pakistan’s Aeronautical Complex Board; and the US Discovery Aviation.
Last month, SSM opened new competition for the acquisition of 52 new basic trainer aircraft, also known as “screeners.” These aircraft will be used to determine whether a new graduate is fit to continue with flight training.
The planned screeners will replace an aging fleet of SF 260 primary trainers assembled in the early 1990s under Italian license by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).
Industry sources say the contract could be worth between $50 million and $75 million.
Recently, an indigenous basic trainer aircraft that Turkey designed and developed won an initial flight certificate from local authorities. Immediately after that, on Sept. 26, Turkey’s top body that oversees procurement decisions, the Defense Industry Executive Committee, approved serial production of the Hurkus, also developed by TAI.
Military officials say that by 2017 the Turkish trainer fleet will comprise the screeners Ankara intends to buy, KT-1 trainers supplied by Korean Aerospace Industries under a 2007 contract, the Hurkus, the upgraded T-38s (T-38Ts) and the F-16s. By 2025, the fleet will have the screeners, the Hurkus, an indigenous trainer to be designed and developed for the fighter jet Turkey intends to build, the TF-X and a combination of the F-16s, TF-Xs and the F-35s.