Turkish Aerospace displayed a one-to-one mock-up of the new Turkish Fighter, known as TF-X, for the first time at the Paris Air Show, on June 17, 2019.

The Turkish Air Force aims to replace its F-16 aircraft with the TF-X project, according to the state-owned Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). The shape of the TF-X bears resemblance with the F-35, especially in the tail area.

Temel Kotil, CEO of Turkish Aerospace, spoke during the one-to-one mock-up of a Turkish fighter aircraft presentation.

Turkish Aerospace and BAE Systems signed a Heads of Agreement (HoA) on January 28,  2017, in the presence of the Prime Ministers of Turkey and the United Kingdom.

“The TF-X will be a fifth-generation fighter. Currently, operational fifth-generation aircraft include the F-22 and F-35 in the inventory of the United States Air Force, while Russia and China are continuing to test their prototype aircraft,” Kotil said, as it stated on milscint.

“Once we develop the TF-X, we will become the world’s fourth country to have this type of aircraft. Meanwhile; Japan, the Republic of Korea, Iran and India are also working on similar projects. So there is a competition between countries,” he added.

The first flight is planned for 2023 and the prototype of the aircraft is assumed to be completed within these periods, as it is reported on ssb.gov.

An alternative to the F-35?

With the ongoing dispute between Turkey and the United States around the procurement of the Russian S-400 missile system, the participation of Ankara in the F-35 program may be compromised. Washington has given an ultimatum, until July 31, 2019, for Turkey to renounce to the S-400. After that date, all Turkish F-35 students and instructor pilots currently being trained in the United States will be sent home, and the Eurasian Republic will have to give up on the 100 fighter jets that it planned on acquiring.

READ MORE:
 
President of the United States Donald Trump confirmed Poland’s decision to purchase 32 F-35A fighter jets, as part of a larger deal that will see the U.S. strengthen their defense relationship with the EU member state, as Turkey is about to be phased out of the Joint Strike Fighter program.