The National Combat Aircraft (MMU) Project, which was initiated by TAI to meet the needs of the Turkish Armed Forces, and planned to replace the F-16 aircraft, continues at full speed.
With this project, it is aimed to have modern warplanes of the Turkish Air Force with the maximum use of domestic technologies. When the aircraft, all designed with domestic facilities, is completed, it will take its place in the sky with many powerful features such as internal weapon mount, high maneuverability, increased situational awareness and sensor fusion. Thanks to the sensor fusion capability, the load on the pilot will be reduced with the aircraft, which will present the data received from different sensors integrated on the platform to the pilot by fusing it, and the pilot will make the best decisions under all conditions.
Thanks to its 5th generation features, the aircraft, which will strengthen the strength of the Turkish Air Forces in today's modern battlefield, and electro optics, radio frequency, microprocessors, advanced composite materials, etc. Technologies that are more important than the other for their fields will be developed in our country with local capabilities. MMU, which will also have the low visibility feature that countries are struggling to design and implement, will achieve many successes as a highly capable deterrent in today's combat air environment. With its low visibility capability, it is aimed to reduce the detectability of air platforms by radar and heat-guided missiles, while the aircraft will stand out from its counterparts with this feature.
Studies conducted for low visibility feature
Under the leadership of the Low Visibility Engineering (Electromagnetic and Trace Analysis) unit, TAI undertakes important responsibilities for all friends working in the MMU project in all the studies carried out to bring the low visibility feature, which is one of the most striking developments of the aviation industry, to the aircraft. While the low visibility capability cannot be achieved independently of the platform design, all work must be integrated into the main design activities. All of the components of the platform such as the air intake, tail gear and engine exhaust are carried out with the support of the relevant engineering teams. The Low Visibility Engineering unit, which was established within the MMU Deputy General Directorate and consists of 18 people, continues to support the design activities of the MMU platform, while continuing to create software and measurement infrastructures that serve to mature and validate the design.
While the team creates the simulation model of the aircraft in the computer environment, it determines the response of the aircraft against the radar waves with the computational electromagnetic software they have developed. In order for MMU to have low visibility, the necessary studies for system, subsystem and material research and optimization, which include both analysis and test processes, are continuing at full speed. Within the framework of ongoing studies, many competencies are being given to TUSAŞ, just like MMU. TAI is preparing to steer the aviation sector with its new centers with the project, which will be implemented with domestic and national means.
Innovations brought to TAI with MMU
Within the scope of the project, based on the size of the problem to be solved and the high number of unknowns, TUSAŞ General Manager Prof. Dr. While one of the largest computer infrastructures of our country is being installed at TAI, with the initiatives of Temel Kotil, production of full-size or scaled models of aircraft critical components continues with cost-effective methods developed specifically to verify computer simulation models with laboratory measurements.
While Radar Cross-Sectional Area (RKA) measurements are carried out in the Gebze Laboratory in cooperation with TÜBİTAK BİLGEM, TUSAŞ continues its efforts to commission the RKA test infrastructure. In this facility, it is planned to measure other air platforms developed nationally as well as the final MMU platforms. Measurement infrastructure, radar absorption material development projects and simulation software carried out within the scope of MMU will bring important capabilities and added value to our country in the field of low visibility.
In addition, within the scope of the visibility feature, it is planned to implement analysis and testing activities at the platform and subcomponent level. Currently, studies are carried out for component-based, high-reflectance and computer-aided electromagnetic simulations that will directly affect the low visibility characteristics of the aircraft, and tests that will support these simulations. A great effort is being made to carry out system, subsystem and material tests with national means.
New test centers will be established
Within the scope of the MMU project, the establishment of three large facilities called EMI / EMC Tests Facility (SATF Shielded Anechoic Test Facility), Lightning Test Facility and Near Field RKA Measurement Facility (NFRTF Near Field RCS Test Facility) and starting to serve actively in the next few years. Various studies are carried out at great speed. Along with these facilities, the Near Field RKA Measurement Facility (NFRTF) aims to examine the low visibility capabilities of these platforms while measuring the Radar Cross Section (RKA) for both MMU and other air platforms of similar sizes.
The Lightning Test Facility will allow testing the lightning behavior of flying platforms, including MMU, and the EMI / EMC Testing Facility (SATF) will allow EMI / EMC tests of subcomponents and flying platforms to be performed.
Will Leave the Hangar on the Anniversary of Çanakkale Victory
TUSAŞ General Manager Temel Kotil stated that the capabilities of the national warplane, which is expected to replace the F-16 warplanes in the inventory of the Turkish Air Force, will be further enhanced and said, “Our President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, and we hung his poster on all sides. On March 18, 2023, the anniversary of the Çanakkale victory, our national combat aircraft will exit the hangar with its engine running. Ready for ground tests. When he leaves the hangar, he cannot fly immediately. Because this is the 5th generation fighter jet. Ground tests will be made for about 2 years. Then we'll lift it up. Not over again, improvements. We will deliver the aircraft to our armed forces in 2029 in F35 calibration ”.