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TAI’s New Aircraft

As The US Air Force (USAF) releases technical documentations regarding its new generation training aircraft, the competitors of the programme became apparent. Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) partnered with US based Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), establishing a joint venture dubbed Freedom Aircraft Ventures LLC, to manufacture training aircraft. C4Defence managed to attain the first drawings of the aircraft to compete in USAF’s T-X Programme. USAF commenced a training aircraft competition to replace its T-38 Talons. Owned by Fatih Ozmen and Eren Ozmen, SNC and TAI will submit their proposal for this competition. There are many other rivals in this programme, one of which is Boeing and Saab partnership who completed the first flight of its new T-X at the end of December. Another participant, Italian manufacturer Leonardo’s Aermacchi M-346 High Efficiency Trainer made its first flight last week. A T-50A variant developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Lockheed Martin has made its first flight also in late December. On the other hand, Textron-AirLand Scorpion and BAE Systems propose Hawk T2. It is known that Freedon Trainer’s airframe is made of composite material and the first prototype is still under developmental process. Twin-engine aircraft is powered by FJ-44-4M business jet engine which is also used on rival M-345. The aircraft is expected to be used in light ground assault missions and save more than 30 percent fuel compared to T-38 Talons. The winner will provide 350 aircraft to US Forces, replacing service’s current 546 T-38s. SNC-TAI joint effort also formed a base for Turkey’s T-X national training aircraft programme. During a defence industry executive committee meeting held on 15 December 2010, a desicion was made to commence talks with TAI, to provide a conceptual design for Turkish Air Force’s future national training aircraft requirement.

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