Turkey opens national combat aircraft engineering center


January 10, 2022 1:15 p.m. (UTC + 04:00)

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By Osman Ozgan / Burak Dogan

Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has inaugurated an Engineering Center for National Fighting Aircraft (MMU), Yeni Shafak reported.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also attended the opening ceremony of the engineering center, which was built as part of the National Combat Aircraft (MMU) project under the coordination of the Defense Industries Presidency, added the report.

Yeni Shafak visited the center where engineers will work day and night for the national warplane. The center, which consists of 65,000 square meters of indoor space and nine blocks, will operate inside TAI.

The parts of the national combat aircraft such as the carrier keel (the main load-bearing part that provides the mid-fuselage-wing interface), the keel beam (the main load-bearing part that forms the keel structure of the forward fuselage) and the pressure wall (the main bearing piece that forms the cockpit aft pressure wall) are exposed in the center inlet section.

The $ 16 million (TL 220 million) project has been fitted with high-level security and equipped with all the necessary technologies. Only authorized persons with a specific identity card are allowed to enter the area where engineers work. In addition, each engineer can only enter the part that is authorized for him. There are also many special areas in the center, from crypto rooms to VIP meeting rooms, from seminar rooms to simulation centers.

Around 2,000 engineers and technicians work for the National Combat Aircraft 24/7. The plane will consist of 20,000 parts. This is where the drawing of every critically important part, as well as software production and design work, is done. In other words, engineers combined their national and national engineering experience from software to critical systems at the center.

Every detail has been thought of to keep the employees in good shape, and they have the opportunity to work without leaving the building. Thus, there are many social spaces from the sports center to the cafeteria, green spaces to the medical center. In addition, the free-standing library in the building was created. The library, which is Turkey’s first autonomous library named after Vecihi Hurkush (Turkish aviator), contains numerous works in the fields of aviation, space and computer engineering, science, literature, philosophy and psychology.

Another facility still under construction is the hangar located just behind the center. The aircraft leaving the production center will enter the hangar for the final tests.

The first plane is expected to be out of the hangar on March 18, 2023, the anniversary of Canakkale’s victory. The ground tests will continue thereafter and, finally, the first flight will take place in 2025. The national combat aircraft will be put into service in 2029.

Turkish engineers, who work in various international companies, show great interest in the project by offering their support. In addition, the engineers in question are applying to be part of the National Combat Aircraft Project, one of the trademark projects of the Turkish defense industry. Currently, many engineers left their careers abroad and returned to Turkey and participated in this project. In addition to the candidatures, the negotiations continue to bring new ones.

Construction work on the wind tunnel and production center continues right next to the engineering center. The wind tunnel will be the second largest in Europe in Turkey. After the engineering work, the assembly processes of the national jet will also be carried out in this production center.

As part of the National Combat Aircraft Project, more than 1,000 of the aircraft carrier’s 2,000 main parts have been sent into production so far. By the end of March, all major structural parts for the body assembly activities will start.

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