Home Critical engine Turkey showcases fifth-generation stealth fighter jet at Singapore Airshow; Search for customers, partners in Asia

Turkey showcases fifth-generation stealth fighter jet at Singapore Airshow; Search for customers, partners in Asia


Turkey’s fifth-generation stealth fighter, TF-X, is expected to make its first flight within the next three years. A regional military power, Ankara desperately needs an advanced fighter jet and the TF-X, projected as the Turkish equivalent of the US F-35, should meet that need.

Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) unveiled a full-size mock-up of TF-X/National Combat Aircraft (MMU) during the ongoing Singapore Air Show 2022. It’s certain static display at the Changi Exhibition Center from February 15 to 18.

The model was flanked by models of various weapons and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), reported Janes. This is the first time that TAI has presented a TF-X model in an Asian country.

Previously, a full-size model of the TF-X was attach at the 2019 Paris Air Show. At that time, Turkey had not yet been expelled from the F-35 consortium by the United States for purchasing the Russian S-400 air defense system.

The TF-X mockup at the Singapore Air Show (via Twitter)

Turkey has come a long way since then; make meaningful progress on the program as talks with the United States over reviving the F-35 deal remain inconsequential and the need to modernize an aging fleet becomes necessary amid tensions with Greece.

Defense giant BAE Systems’ official Twitter account said, “We are working with Turkish Aerospace to bring engineering know-how and expertise to the TF-X program.”

TAI also showcases additional platform mockups it has created. On March 18, 2023, the TF-X MMU will be unveiled for the first time, with a maiden flight scheduled for 2026according to Saba every day.

The futuristic Turkish aircraft

The TFX is a fifth generation fighter which resembles Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II. The indigenous aircraft will eventually replace the Turkish Air Force’s F-16 fighters, which are to be phased out by the 2030s.

The TF-X is a twin-engine multirole aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air missions, but it could also be used for air-to-ground missions.

According to TAI, once all critical features (such as greater situational awareness, sensor fusion, low observability, weapons bay, etc.) are instilled under the TF- X, Turkey will become one of the few countries with the technology, engineering infrastructure and capabilities to produce a 5th generation fighter (or beyond).

Turkey has also opened new engineering facilities for the design, development and production of the fighter jet to meet the deadline announced by President Erdogan, as previously reported by the EurAsian Times.

The first full-scale model of TFX in Singapore could aim to find potential partners in Asia. TAI has been working to expand collaborations in next-generation technologies in the Asian market, especially in the defense and aviation sectors.

“We will meet with military and civilian representatives from countries and companies participating in the Singapore Airshow and hold important discussions to develop capabilities,” the TAI chief said.

Turkey’s opening to Asia

Turkey launched its “Asia Anew” initiative in 2019 with the aim of strengthening its ties with countries in this region. A major component of the initiative turned out to be defense outreach.

Challenger to Indian LCA Tejas fighter jets: Turkey plans first phase of serial production of Hurjet aircraft
Challenger to Indian LCA Tejas fighter jets: Turkey plans first phase of serial production of Hurjet aircraft

In November last year, TAI built its first engineering and design office in Southeast Asia, Malaysia. He became one of the top two bidders for the Malaysian LCA contract with his Hurjet, alongside India’s LCA Tejas, which is also competing in the Singapore Air Show, 2022.

In addition, engineers from Turkey and Malaysia are to collaborate on a range of projects, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), jet trainers, helicopter projects and global air force ecosystem modernization programs. ‘aviation.

Last year, TAI reportedly entered into a contract with Kazakhstan to sell three of its medium altitude long endurance (MALE) unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) from Anka, according to to an earlier report by Daily Sabah.

TAI Anka - Wikipedia
TAI Anka combat drone – Wikipedia

The sale of Anka came after Turkey and Kazakhstan signed a military cooperation agreement in May last year, which calls for sharing information and expertise regarding reconnaissance and attack drones.

Last November, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency (AA) quoted TAI’s managing director, Temel Kotil, as saying, “We see Kazakhstan’s exports as a very important success after Tunisia. We are proud that our Ankas are now used internationally.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also visited the four Central Asian states in March last year to raise awareness. Uzbekistan had would have expressed interest in Turkish defense products after witnessing the success of Turkish drones deployed by Azerbaijan during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh crisis.

Turkey has largely succeeded in strengthening its ties with countries in the South Asian region, particularly with Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Bangladesh and Turkey have signed a protocol of agreement on security cooperation last month when Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu was in Bangladesh for a one-day visit. The agreement would cover military training, intelligence sharing, counterterrorism operations and the fight against cybercrime.

Bangladesh is Turkey’s fourth largest arms buyer. It bought weapons worth $60 million from Turkey in the first four months of 2021. Ankara’s defense and aerospace exports in 2021 amounted to $3 billion.

One of Turkey’s closest and most reliable partners in Asia is Pakistan. It is currently developing Ada-class corvettes for Pakistan and upgrading its Agosta 90B-class submarines. Pakistan is also in the process of acquiring deadly torpedo countermeasure systems from Turkey.

Even though Turkey is a member of NATO and, by default, a partner of the United States, some experts have expressed concerns about buying a fighter jet from China.

A Chinese J-10C. (via Twitter)

Turkey was left behind after its expulsion from the US-led F-35 program. Washington is also ignoring his demands regarding the sale of F-16 fighters. Given its proximity to Pakistan and its own cooperation with China under the BRI, experts to predict that he could choose to buy the JF-17s or J-10Cs from China.

In recent years, Turkey has become a major manufacturer of defense equipment. Its outreach in Asia could prove beneficial for its defense industry, as Asian militaries seek cheaper alternatives to US weapons, which also come with numerous export restrictions.