Turkish Aerospace Industries / TAI Hürkuş
The TAI Hürkuş (Free Bird) is a tandem two-seat, low wing, single engine, turboprop aircraft developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) as a new basic trainer and ground attack aircraft for the Turkish Armed Forces.
The aircraft is named after Vecihi Hürkuş, a Turkish aviation pioneer and the first Turkish airplane manufacturer.
The TAI Hürkuş Development Program started with an agreement signed between Turkish Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (Savunma Sanayii Müsteşarlığı (SSM)) and TAI in March 2006. Under the agreement the company was to design, manufacture and complete the civil certification the aircraft to European Aviation Safety Agency CS 23 standards.
HÜRKUŞ-A: Basic version which is to be certified with EASA according to CS-23 requirements.
By June 2012 the Hürkuş program had consumed one million man-hours with the work of 140 engineers. About a quarter of the Turkish engineers who have worked on Hürkuş are female, as well as two of the three project heads.
The Hürkuş was to be equipped for inverted, day and night flying as well as basic pilot training, instrument flying, navigation training, weapons and formation training. The aircraft has good visibility from both cockpits with a 50 degree down-view angle from the rear cockpit, cabin pressurization (nominal 4.16 psid), Martin-Baker Mk T-16 N 0/0 ejection seats, an on-board oxygen generation system (OBOGS), an Environmental Control System (Vapor Cycle Cooling), an anti-G system, high shock absorbing landing gear for training missions, and Hands On Throttle and Stick (HOTAS). Microtecnica of Turin, Italy was been selected to provide the aircraft's environmental control system. The Hürkuş has been designed for a 35-year service life with a TAI designed wing airfoil.
The Hürkuş development program has been subject to delays. In 2007 it was forecast that the first prototype would fly in late-2009 with first delivery, upon completion of the certification process, forecast for 2011. On 27 June 2012, the Hürkuş was officially rolled out at a ceremony held at TAI's Kazan premises. The forecast date for the first flight was then delayed until later in 2012 and actually occurred on 29 August 2013 when the aircraft flew from the Ankara Akıncı Air Base on a 33-minute flight. The first flight was performed with landing gear down and to a height of 9500 ft.
Stability and control checks in different flight configurations have been conducted in the following flight tests. Landing gear up-down tests, cockpit pressurized tests and system functions pre-checks have been performed. The aircraft has reached 12.500 ft height and 158 knots speed currently.
At an SSIK's meeting, held on Sept. 26, 2013, in order to meet the 15 new-generation trainer aircraft requirement of TurAF, contract negotiations regarding the serial production of HÜRKUŞ was started with TAI. The negotiations regarding HÜRKUŞ-B contract was on the signing.
Two prototypes were built. Entering service in 2015, 15 were built.