Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has achieved a significant milestone by flying the prototype of its Hürjet trainer jet for the first time. The test flight was announced and celebrated by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on April 25, 2023.
“HÜRJET, our first domestic and national manned supersonic jet aircraft, successfully performed its first flight,” Erdogan said. “Celebrate the Turkish Century!”
It is the first time that TAI, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has flown a jet aircraft of its own design. During the 26-minute flight test, the prototype climbed to an altitude of 14,000 feet and at a speed of 250 knots (around 460 kilometers per hour).
A new advanced trainer for the Turkish Air Force
The Hürjet is a single-engine supersonic advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft, similar to the Boeing T-7, the KAI T-50, and the Yakovlev Yak-130. Powered by a General Electric F404-GE-102 engine, the aircraft is slated to have a maximum speed of Mach 1.4 and a range of 2,222 kilometers (1,200 nautical miles).
From 2026, it will gradually replace the Cold War-era Northrop T-38 Talon as the advanced trainer jet of the Turkish Air Force. According to TAI, the Hürjet will also be able to fulfill close air support missions, as well as conduct air policing.
The Hürjet has yet to rack up an export contract. It recently competed in a tender held by Malaysia. South Korea’s KAI FA-50, India’s HAL Tejas, China’s Catic L-15, Italy’s Leonardo M-346, and Russia’s MiG-35 were also under consideration. Ultimately, the Malaysian Ministry of Defense signed a $920 million contract for 18 KAI FA-50 light fighter jets.
It is the second new trainer to take off for the first time in less than a week. On April 21, 2023, Czech manufacturer Aero Vodochody successfully flew their first serially produced L-39NG jet trainer, 20 years after the last mass-produced L-159 ALCA.