Hurkus training aircraft are equipped with turbofan engines with a capacity of 1,600 horsepower, can reach speeds of 574 km/h and a maximum ceiling of 10,600 m.
The logical and definitive steps of Turkey have brought them a speedy pace to catch up with the world common ground on defense industry. In an effort to self-produce to meet domestic demand, the Turkish defense industry with a number of companies with nearly a century of history, such as MKEK or new companies.
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Nowadays, most of these companies have affirmed their reliable production capacity and quality. Among these is the TAI, an aviation industry group, that meets most of the needs of the domestic aviation complex. TAI’s outstanding achievements are the production of T-129 attack helicopter from the design of Agusta Westland, the F-16 from the Lockhed Martin franchise as well as the C-235 transport aircraft, etc. Most recently, Turkey continued to welcome TAI Hurkus, a tandem two-seat, low-wing, single-engine, turboprop aircraft being developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries as a new basic trainer and ground attack aircraft for the Turkish Armed Forces.
The TAI Hurkus program was developed from from the KAI KT-1T trainer, a product of cooperation between the Korea Aerospace Industries and Turkish Aerospace Industries. It was built primarily to meet the requirements of the Turkish Air Force, a development contract was given to Turkish Aerospace Industries in December of 2006.
The first aircraft went airborne for the first time in August 2013 – setting the stage for what should be a follow-up procurement phase. The aircraft is named after Vecihi Hurkus, a World War I and Turkish Independence War veteran pilot, a Turkish aviation pioneer and the first Turkish airplane manufacturer. In English, Hurkus means “Free Bird”. The Hurkus will also be exported as a civilian and military flight trainer aircraft.
Basically, TAI Hurkus will be a direct competitor to other training aircrafts on the market such as American Beechcraft T-6 Texan II, the Brazilian Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano and the Swiss Pilatus PC-21 series.
Hurkus learned many design languages of similar aircraft. The fuselage is elongated and quite thin, combined with low-mounted straight monoplane wing, the wing tip curved up, creating a beautiful aerodynamic design. The single turboprop engine is placed at the front, a vertical tail fin located on the a pair of low-mounted horizontal planes. Hurkus features a full glass cockpit with a tandem seat configuration for two crew – a student pilot and an instructor. The aircraft has good visibility from both cockpits with a 50 degree down-view angle from the rear cockpit, cabin pressurization. The cockpit is equipped with Martin-Baker ejection seats, an onboard oxygen generation system, an Environmental Control System, an anti-G system, high shock absorbing landing gear for training missions, and Hands On Throttle and Stick.
Hurkus is equipped with a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68T turboprop engine driving a five-bladed rotor, developing a maximum power output of 1600 shaft horsepower. This gives the aircraft a respectable performance with a maximum speed of 574 km/h, cruise speed of 463 km/h. It can climb at the rate of 22 m/s and the maximum range is 1,478km.
The Hurkus is be equipped for day and night flying as well as basic pilot training, instrument flying, navigation training, weapons and formation training. The Hurkus-A is the basic version which has been certified with EASA according to CS-23 requirements, is intended for the civilian market.
The Turkish Air Force is procuring the Hurkus-B, an advanced, slightly lighter variant with integrated avionics, a head-up display and a glass cockpit. The Hurkus B is slated to replace the Turkish Air Force’s T-37 Tweet basic jet trainers. Like other turboprop trainers, the Hürkuş B is being positioned as a more cost-effective alternative to jet trainers, namely due to the potentially lower operating costs of flying a turboprop compared to a jet.
In tandem with the Hurkus B managing the Turkish Air Force’s training requirements, the armed Hurkus-C will join the Turkish Air Force as a close air support aircraft for counterinsurgency operations. The aircraft is broadly similar in concept to the Textron AT-6B Wolverine and the Sierra Nevada or Embraer A-29 Super Tucano, and features an under-fuselage electro-optical turret and seven external hardpoints carrying a warload of up to 1,500 kg.
The Hurkus-C programme was launched on 28 November 2016, and a prototype was rolled out in February 2017, carrying Roketsan UMTAS anti-tank guided missiles, and Roketsan Cirit laser-guided rockets.
On 7 April 2017, the Hurkus-C prototype aircraft fired a Roketsan L-UMTAS anti-tank missile against a ground target, and on 29 December Turkish Aerospace announced that the type had successfully completed flight and firing trials, culminating in tests of the aircraft’s self-protection systems. Twelve Hurkus-Cs are currently planned for production and the Turkish Armed Forces have an option for 12 more.