The Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) developed national combat aircraft KAAN is now ready to take flight thanks to its successful manufacturing and design, according to the general manager of the company.
Temel Kotil made the related statements to the press on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show, which returned after a four-year COVID-19-induced hiatus.
The Turkish company is showcasing many products, from unmanned platforms to helicopters, at the biennial event that features military and civilian aircraft streaking across the sky.
Kotil highlighted that TAI had a significantly larger exhibition area at this year’s fair, attracting heavy foot traffic and enabling fruitful meetings with numerous military and civilian officials, particularly from African nations.
Kotil further emphasized the remarkable resurgence of the aviation industry following the COVID-19 pandemic. He pointed out that global manufacturing giants Airbus and Boeing are witnessing a surge in demand, adopting an “I will buy as much as you make” approach.
After evaluating the company’s products, including the heavy-class attack helicopter Atak-2, Kotil stated that they could use more electronic warfare equipment thanks to its 1,200-kilogram (2,645-pound) payload capacity. While the Atak helicopter can engage the target from 8 kilometers (5 miles), this distance will increase to 20 kilometers in Atak-2.
“We are not repeating what the Russians and the Americans have done. I hope we will sell hundreds of these. It is an attack helicopter with a high carrying capacity and a powerful engine. It is flying now; delivery is in 2025,” Kotil said.
Kotil expressed that the 11-ton heavy class T925 general purpose helicopter, which is also described as the “big brother of the Gökbey helicopter – Türkiye’s first homegrown multirole helicopter,” was exhibited for the 1st time at the fair and will fly in a year.
He said that the general-purpose helicopter appeals to a wider market than the attack helicopter due to its military and civilian usage areas. He also noted that the number of sales stated has increased to 500.
Expressing that they focused on exports after creating a wide range of products, Kotil said, “We have signed deals worth $600 million in military systems since the beginning of the year. We want to peak in exports. We aim to export at least $1 billion annually.”
Rotary-wing cargo UAV
Meanwhile, TAI’s rotary-wing cargo unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which was developed in line with the needs of the security forces and started flight tests, was exhibited for the first time at the Paris Air Show as well.
Developed as a cheap and risk-free solution, the cargo UAV has a maximum take-off weight of 275 kilograms. It is a simple-to-use vehicle to facilitate the user’s work. The car was developed as a system that can take off automatically, go to regions without a link, and pick up and transport cargo. Thanks to its simple use, the tool fulfills the expected tasks at the click of a button. The cargo UAV allows missions to be carried out only in forward bases and non-base areas by giving coordinates.
TAI, which started a project with its own resources for the Cargo UAV-2, put a product that can carry 300 kilograms for five hours and with a carrying capacity of up to 500 kilograms on its agenda.
Ömer Yıldız, deputy general manager of TAI UAV Systems, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the project started with winning the tender opened by the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB).
Stating that they will design, fly and deliver three unmanned helicopters with a carrying capacity of 50 kilograms, Yıldız said: “The aim here was to develop technology, to do a technology demo. At this point, it’s time to showcase our product, as it is almost finished. Now we are bringing it to fairs.”
Yıldız, who stated that a new product with a higher capacity would come after this UAV, said, “A second platform that will carry approximately 250-300 kilograms of useful load follows, as they will continue toward larger helicopters.
Pointing out that the function of the vehicle will change depending on the payload equipment, such as camera, radar, ammunition, radio relay station, and base station, Yıldız stated that they first tried to develop the platform. Then they would have the opportunity to integrate all kinds of payloads.
“We aim to make large helicopters unmanned as well. Avionic suites and equipment, actuators, sensors and flight control algorithms that can make any helicopter unmanned will be developed.”
Aviation engines on display
TAI’s engine-producing subsidiary and Türkiye’s leading company in aviation engines, TUSAŞ Engine Industries (TEI), also opened a booth at the Paris Air Show.
The country’s first national helicopter engine, TEI-TS1400; the most powerful turbodiesel aviation engine, TEI-PD222; the two-stroke gasoline aviation engine, TEI-PG50S and turbojet engines TEI-TJ90U, TEI-TJ60 and TEI-TJ30 are among the products that are being exhibited at the fair.
“With its original engines, TEI also presents the electrical, electronic control and embedded system products developed with its state-of-the-art design and production capabilities to the visitors at the fair. It also demonstrates its capabilities in the additive manufacturing method, which is called the manufacturing technology of the future, with sample parts,” a statement by the company read.
It said that TEI would hold many bilateral meetings for new cooperation opportunities in all fields of activity at the fair and that its subsidiaries Varzene and Gürmetal also introduced their work on the production of critical parts used in aviation engines to visitors from all over the world at the TEI booth.