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Thread: Turkish aerospace

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    TF-X: Turkey Picks Saab To Mentor National Fighter Program

    Turkey Picks Saab To Mentor National Fighter Program
    Jun. 6, 2013 - 05:01PM | By BURAK EGE BEKDIL |


    ANKARA — Turkey has selected Saab to help shape its plans to design, develop and manufacture its first national fighter jet.

    Ankara has already drafted three models, one of which likely will become its first indigenous fighter, although some analysts said Turkey should have opted for an unmanned model.

    “After lengthy negotiations with Saab, we have come to the conclusion to go ahead with this company to finalize our feasibility studies,” a senior procurement official familiar with the national fighter program said.

    He said that the Swedish aerospace and defense group already has assisted with the three models Turkish engineers have drafted, and these would be presented to top management at the country’s arms procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), as well as to the Air Force.

    “We are working to make that presentation in September or October,” the official said.

    The Saab group’s office here did not respond to questions by press time.

    An official from Tusas Aerospace Industries (TAI), the local prime contractor for the program, said that one of the three drafts is a twin-engine stealth aircraft and the other two are single-engine models, also stealthy.

    The procurement official said the program has two problems to overcome.

    “We need to pick up the right engine manufacturer with which we should be able to work out a long-term relationship. That will be essential. Also, we need to know that a meticulously devised cost-benefit analysis should prove this is a feasible program,” he said.

    A government official said the final decision on whether to launch the manufacturing phase would be made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    “A lot will depend on the findings of the cost-benefit analysis in progress now,” the official said. “We would accept a certain margin that will make the Turkish fighter reasonably more expensive than available options. But if we find out that we could only manufacture a fighter, say, [at a cost] 40 to 50 percent more expensive than a proven, off-the-shelf buy option, then the prime minister would probably drop the idea.
    http://www.defensenews.com/article/2...ighter-Program

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    The current three design proposals.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Twinblade View Post
    The current three design proposals.


    2nd one seems a bit larger than the first two.

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    I vote #1.

    That's how it works, right?

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    How does this tie in with Turkey's involvement in the F-35? Is there really a need for a separate additional fifth gen fighter? Just wondering what possible benefit Turkey could derive that it can't get from the F-35's capabilities. Yes, of course there's the obvious independence and technology acquisition associated with a home-grown fighter development programme, but then Turkey hasn't really been denied any access to advanced technology before. I'm sure it could simply take a more prominent role in the development of the F-35 if it wanted to, and incorporate specific technologies and capabilities that it needs, rather like what Israel is doing.

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    Why did UK bother with Typhoon instead of buying off the shelf?

    Same answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rii View Post
    Why did UK bother with Typhoon instead of buying off the shelf?

    Same answer.
    I'm not sure that particular example is comparable in this case. The Eurofighter/Typhoon programme went back years before the F-35's development, and they're not strictly comparable platforms. There seems to be more comparable overlap in features and similar class of fighters in the case of TF-X/F-35. I'm sure the primary driving factor is to have a home-grown independent platform, but given Turkey's relationship with NATO and the US, I'm sure it could derive similar benefits from a tighter integration with the F-35 programme.

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    I believe he meant F-15 similarity to Typhoon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Y-20 Bacon View Post
    2nd one seems a bit larger than the first two.
    I think its more about the basic concept.

    Will they pick a stealth aircraft based on:
    1 A single engine canard design
    2 A twin engine concentional design
    3 A single engine conventional design
    ?

    So the project is very very immature at the moment. Current status is "pre study" and they will prioritize what is more important. Extreme agility or lower development risc when it comes to FCS.

    If they go for option #1 they can go for the FS2020 (another SAAB project) and guarantee that at least 2 clients will use the jet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tu22m View Post
    I think its more about the basic concept.

    Will they pick a stealth aircraft based on:
    1 A single engine canard design
    2 A twin engine concentional design
    3 A single engine conventional design
    ?

    If they go for option #1 they can go for the FS2020 (another SAAB project) and guarantee that at least 2 clients will use the jet.
    That would fit with Sweden looking at a Gripen successor 2035+

    It may be that 20 years from now there will be a few nations interested in a 5G single-engined aircraft costing a lot less to fly than F-35, so there may be an export market. A CPFH that was half that of F-35 would save an air force an awful lot of money.

    Example:

    F-35 CPFH of $30,000 in 2013 dollars x 6000 hours use = $180 million
    Single engine 5G CPFH of $15,000 in 2013 dollars x 6000 hours use = $90 million
    A single squadron of 20 singles would cost roughly $1.8 billion less to fly over 6000 hours

    For LO reasons, why even consider a design with a vertical tail?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snow Monkey View Post
    I believe he meant F-15 similarity to Typhoon.
    Pretty much. Turkey doesn't need a special excuse to produce its own aircraft anymore than anyone else does. The military has the requirement, the industrial base is ready to take the next step up, and the economic picture underpinning things is solid enough. Given this situation, why •wouldn't• Turkey undertake to develop their own aircraft? Every other comparable nation has done or is doing so.

    Tu-22M: Having SAAB on board would surely mitigate any additional risk of canard design?
    Last edited by Rii; 8th June 2013 at 15:02.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tu22m View Post
    I think its more about the basic concept.

    Will they pick a stealth aircraft based on:
    1 A single engine canard design
    2 A twin engine concentional design
    3 A single engine conventional design
    ?

    So the project is very very immature at the moment. Current status is "pre study" and they will prioritize what is more important. Extreme agility or lower development risc when it comes to FCS.

    If they go for option #1 they can go for the FS2020 (another SAAB project) and guarantee that at least 2 clients will use the jet.
    it would probably be a bit bigger than the fs2020. that one was going to use the F414 but the Turks are interested in either 1 F-16 engine or 2 Eurojets.
    I think ultimately it'll end up being #2 or #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Y-20 Bacon View Post
    it would probably be a bit bigger than the fs2020. that one was going to use the F414 but the Turks are interested in either 1 F-16 engine or 2 Eurojets.
    This can always change, particularly when cost is going to be a major factor in whether the project goes forward at all. Could be I'm just seeing things, but the engine on #1 seems smaller than on #3 ... could be the former is envisioned as F414 and the latter F110?
    Last edited by Rii; 21st June 2013 at 01:58.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rii View Post
    This is always amenable to change, particularly when cost is going to be a major factor in whether the project goes forward at all. Could be I'm just seeing things, but the engine on #1 seems smaller than on #3 ... could be the former is envisioned as F414 and the latter F110?
    the picture posted up there is not to scale. its taken from this picture, where one plane is smaller because its further in the background.

    http://globalmilitaryreview.blogspot...n-stealth.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Y-20 Bacon View Post
    it would probably be a bit bigger than the fs2020. that one was going to use the F414 but the Turks are interested in either 1 F-16 engine or 2 Eurojets.
    I think ultimately it'll end up being #2 or #3
    To quote Gust Avrakotos, We'll see.

    Gripen as a concept is still very much precisely what is wanted nowadays. And that is low costs from the design and up.

    Turkey want to have as little dependence on US as possible so it isnt unlikely that the EJ2x0 engine will be used (with pretty extreme dry thrust performance...).

    I believe that they will pick concept #1 and produce a low cost, highly agile stealth fighter and sacrifice range on internal fuel as well as internal bomb load (no 2000lbs JDAMs). Because, in the end, the means to reach your goals will be the limiting factor. Turkey and Sweden together wont pull off a new F22, but they can surely make a stealth aircraft in the same class as Gripen is in today, the F16 was yesterday and the MiG 21 was before that.
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    Turkey can start this project but it cannot finish it. I doubt Turkey can afford even JSF.
    in best of times it only managed a license of Italian helicopter and even that implementation is too slow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tu22m View Post
    Turkey want to have as little dependence on US as possible so it isnt unlikely that the EJ2x0 engine will be used (with pretty extreme dry thrust performance...).
    I'm not convinced that desire for independence from the US is a significant factor in TF-X, but if it is the prospects for #2 go up markedly, as only that variant can fill F-35's shoes. Also I am unconvinced as to the practicality of a 5G fighter powered by a single EJ2x0. I suspect F414 EPE is borderline as is...
    Last edited by Rii; 9th June 2013 at 19:51.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JSR View Post
    Turkey can start this project but it cannot finish it... in best of times it only managed a license of Italian helicopter and even that implementation is too slow.
    It sounds like Turkey has the sense to see that embarking on a 5G alone would be very risky. SAAB would provide the expertise to get the project completed.

    Quote Originally Posted by JSR View Post
    I doubt Turkey can afford even JSF.
    Economic prospects for Turkey are good. Government debt is low (in contrast to many of the other European economies) at less than 40% of GDP*. The economy is quite dynamic with growth exceeding 8% in 4 of the last 10 years.*

    Regarding developing a "national fighter", it appears that Turkey will only pursue this ambition if the estimated cost of the resulting aircraft is less than 150% the cost of buying aircraft from abroad. I presume that figure is based on production cost alone.

    * source: International Monetary Fund (IMF) - World Economic Outlook April 2012

    One should bear in mind that flying 100 "national fighters" for 6000 hours may cost $7+ billion less than flying F-35.
    Last edited by Spitfire9; 9th June 2013 at 05:26.

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    Agree on that Rii, except if the country already has F-35 for bombing,
    then the top variant makes sense for air cover/superiority, like the F-22/F-35 mix of US, (but far cheaper operational cost vs F-22)
    weapons miniaturization may also put those smaller bays to good use with time, for sure they can accommodate SDB already.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spitfire9 View Post
    It sounds like Turkey has the sense to see that embarking on a 5G alone would be very risky. SAAB would provide the expertise to get the project completed.
    Turkey already has sense thats why they took already developed Italian product for licensing. but 5G fighter is beyond the scope of SAAB and financial ability of Turkey.


    Economic prospects for Turkey are good. Government debt is low (in contrast to many of the other European economies) at less than 40% of GDP*. The economy is quite dynamic with growth exceeding 8% in 4 of the last 10 years.*

    Regarding developing a "national fighter", it appears that Turkey will only pursue this ambition if the estimated cost of the resulting aircraft is less than 150% the cost of buying aircraft from abroad. I presume that figure is based on production cost alone.

    * source: International Monetary Fund (IMF) - World Economic Outlook April 2012

    One should bear in mind that flying 100 "national fighters" for 6000 hours may cost $7+ billion less than flying F-35.
    I am sure there were similar forecast regarding Spain in 2007. Turkish GDP is even more funny than Spain. there is already slow down in procurment. no sign JSF orders. no air defence system. commitment to super expensive A400M.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spitfire9 View Post
    That would fit with Sweden looking at a Gripen successor 2035+

    It may be that 20 years from now there will be a few nations interested in a 5G single-engined aircraft costing a lot less to fly than F-35, so there may be an export market. A CPFH that was half that of F-35 would save an air force an awful lot of money.

    Example:

    F-35 CPFH of $30,000 in 2013 dollars x 6000 hours use = $180 million
    Single engine 5G CPFH of $15,000 in 2013 dollars x 6000 hours use = $90 million
    A single squadron of 20 singles would cost roughly $1.8 billion less to fly over 6000 hours

    For LO reasons, why even consider a design with a vertical tail?
    Yeah, Im thinking about that as well. Why bother with vertical tails if you can use thrust vectoring? I would love to see a stealth Draken :P

    A smaller jet with less surface also needs less RAM. There is another cost aspect. Using COTS (like the datalinks etc from Gripen) will likely make this the cheapest 5th gen development ever. The Russians have a similar approach where the latest Flanker systems can be used as a fallback for Pak Fa.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rii View Post
    I'm not convinced that this is a significant factor, but if it is the prospects for #2 go up markedly, as only that variant can compensate for any loss of F-35 capability. Further I am unconvinced as to the practicality of a 5G fighter powered by a single EJ2x0. I suspect F414 EPE is borderline as is...
    What matters mostly is the dry thrust, weight and drag when it comes to engine choice. If they stick with the Gripen size and weight the EJ2x0 will be enough.

    As long as the size is kept low you can also keep the related costs down (fuel, materials etc). I believe that costs will be the most important factor and gong for a single engine will keep costs down.
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    Single engine also have their issues... A M2K fell crashed days ago due to a bird...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tu22m View Post
    Yeah, Im thinking about that as well. Why bother with vertical tails if you can use thrust vectoring?
    Anyone have any idea whether a tailless design would use less fuel? I recall that lower fuel consumption was claimed for a Typhoon with thrust vectoring.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tu22m View Post
    A smaller jet with less surface also needs less RAM. There is another cost aspect. Using COTS (like the datalinks etc from Gripen) will likely make this the cheapest 5th gen development ever.
    I think it would be dumb to go for a twin-engined design. Why spend billions creating something that would be in competition with F-35, PAK FA, J-20 and possibly a fourth design from India and a fifth from South Korea? Turkey would already have F-35 so a single-engined 5G design would complement that as well as being cheaper to build and operate and have a much larger potential export market.

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    Quote Originally Posted by halloweene View Post
    Single engine also have their issues... A M2K fell crashed days ago due to a bird...
    And about 0 Gripens have crashed because of that, despite having several seagul bird strikes. It all comes down to if the aircraft is properly designed for it or not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tu22m View Post
    And about 0 Gripens have crashed because of that, despite having several seagul bird strikes. It all comes down to if the aircraft is properly designed for it or not.
    Indeed. Did any countries order a twin instead of F-16 because of the risk of an engine failure?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spitfire9 View Post
    Indeed. Did any countries order a twin instead of F-16 because of the risk of an engine failure?
    Australia, Canada, Finland, Spain?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spitfire9 View Post
    Indeed. Did any countries order a twin instead of F-16 because of the risk of an engine failure?
    I don't know. Some got the Hornets but I don't know if the reason was the engines.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freehand View Post
    Australia, Canada, Finland, Spain?
    Looking up on Wikipedia, it says Australia preferred a 2 engine aircraft for reliability; Canada - likewise, 2 engines better for over-water duties; Finland - no mention of F-18 being chosen because it had 2 engines; Spain - no mention of F-18 being chosen because it had 2 engines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tu22m View Post
    If they stick with the Gripen size and weight the EJ2x0 will be enough.
    The question is how you do this whilst adding an internal bay. My guess is that you end up with an aircraft the size of Gripen NG with the range of Gripen A-D. The question is whether Turkey would be satisfied with that.

    As long as the size is kept low you can also keep the related costs down (fuel, materials etc). I believe that costs will be the most important factor and gong for a single engine will keep costs down.
    I agree with this, which is why I consider #2 the least likely. But on the other hand you seem to think that independance from the US is a factor in TF-X, but if this is so the prospects for #2 rise markedly!

    Quote Originally Posted by Spitfire9 View Post
    I think it would be dumb to go for a twin-engined design. Why spend billions creating something that would be in competition with F-35, PAK FA, J-20 and possibly a fourth design from India and a fifth from South Korea? Turkey would already have F-35 so a single-engined 5G design would complement that as well as being cheaper to build and operate and have a much larger potential export market.
    +1 to this as well.


    On the question of engine reliability, the 21st century is a very different era from mid-70s, which in turn was a very different era from the 50s. And if Turkey had major concerns in this respect they would never have signed up for F-35!
    Last edited by Rii; 9th June 2013 at 15:11.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Y-20 Bacon View Post
    it would probably be a bit bigger than the fs2020. that one was going to use the F414 but the Turks are interested in either 1 F-16 engine or 2 Eurojets.
    I think ultimately it'll end up being #2 or #3
    A single f-414/Ej2000 class engine concept is dead on arrival. You need reasonable amount of fuel even in a single engine fighter to stay airborne for a while and external fuel tanks are not a very 'stealthy' option. A F-110 is the basic minimum you need to keep up the thrust to weight ratio while lugging around all that extra fuel, not to forget the weapons bay which despite being an empty space weighs much more than a clean design.

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