Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan alights from the cockpit of the Hurkus, Turkey's primary and basic trainer aircraft, at the Turkish Aerospace Industries in 2012. The Turkish government signed a contract for the serial production of two versions of the Hurkus, the company announced Dec. 26. (Adem Altan / AFP)
ANKARA — The Turkish government has signed a contract for the serial production of two versions of the Hurkus, an indigenous trainer aircraft developed by the Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), the company announced in a Dec. 26 press release.
Turkey’s top procurement decision-maker, the Defense Industry Executive Committee chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, ruled Sept. 26 to open contract negotiations with TAI for the serial production of the Hurkus. TAI said the contract was signed between the company and Turkey’s procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM).
TAI said the Hurkus-A, an analog cockpit-base model, made its maiden flight Aug. 23. It has flown a total of 800 hours in 15 sorties since then.
The contract involves the production of 15 Hurkus-B, an advanced version with advanced avionics. Turkey’s military electronics specialist Aselsan will be tasked to produce military avionics for the aircraft.
TAI also said the contract involves conceptual design work for the Hurkus-C, an armed aircraft with aerial support, reconnaissance and surveillance roles.
The two-seat Hurkus will have a maximum lifespan of 10,500 flight hours, or about 35 years. The turboprop has a single 1,600-horsepower engine and can fly up to 10,577 meters (nearly 35,000 feet) at a maximum speed of 574 kilometers per hour.
The Hurkus will be equipped for day and night flying, as well as for basic pilot training, instrument flying, navigation training, and weapons and formation training. It will have good visibility from both cockpits, with a 50-degree down-view angle from the rear cockpit, ejection seats, an on-board oxygen generation system, an environmental control system, an anti-G system, and shock-absorbing landing gear for training missions.
The Hurkus will come in four variants:
■ Hurkus-A — A basic version that has been certified with the European Aviation Safety Agency. It is intended for the civilian market.
■ Hurkus-B — An advanced version with integrated avionics, including a mission computer and a cockpit avionics layout similar to F-16 and F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. The Turkish Army is considering an initial order for 15 aircraft.
■ Hurkus-C — An armed version for the close-air support role, it will have a maximum weapons load of 3,300 pounds. The army has expressed interest in the Hurkus C to provide support for its attack helicopters.
■ Coast Guard Hurkus — TAI plans to offer another version to support the Turkish Coast Guard’s maritime patrol activities. The aircraft’s back seat would be occupied by an operator for a forward-looking infrared sensor.
Military officials said that by 2017, the Turkish trainer fleet will comprise of the batch of screeners Ankara now intends to buy, as well as the Korean-made KT-1, the Hurkus, the upgraded T-38 (T-38T) and the F-16.
By 2025, the trainer fleet will have the screeners, the Hurkus, an indigenous trainer designed and developed for the fighter Turkey intends to build, the TF-X, and a combination of the F-16s, TF-Xs and F-35s.