The Turkish aero-industry has grown considerably over the last few decades with several high-profile projects being worked on including the now-in-service T129 ATAK attack helicopter and the in-development "Hurkus" turboprop basic trainer / light attack platform. Another program in-the-works is an all-new advanced jet trainer, dubbed the "Hurjet", being developed for the Turkish Air Force (TurAF) for service introduction to come sometime in the next decade.
The program is said to be receiving assistance from Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) of the United States which was, at one point, a player in the USAF T-X advanced jet trainer competition. Indeed it is believed that SNC's own T-X design is being used as the framework for the Hurjet project due to similar program requirements. SNC and TAI were joint partners in the short-lived T-X "Freedom Trainer" offering intended to succeed the storied, yet aging, fleet of Northrop T-38 Talon jet trainers in service with the USAF.
SNC marketed the Freedom Trainer under the merits of low procurement cost and reduced financial sustainability commitments.
The Hurjet may be powered by a single Williams International FJ44-4M engine, part of the FJ44 family of turbofans in use by such types as the Swedish Saab 105, the Czech Aero L-39 Albatros and Italian Leonardo M-345. This puts estimated thrust output anywhere between 2,000 and 3,500lb. The same engine fit was proposed with the SNC Freedom trainer concept.
Concept work showcases an aircraft with stepped tandem seating for its crew of two (instructor and student). Side-mounted intakes are used to aspirate the twin (side-by-side) engine arrangement in the fuselage with each unit exhausting aft through separate ports. The wing mainplanes are shoulder-mounted with leading edge sweepback apparent. A twin rudder configuration is seen at the tail (the planes being noticeably cranked outwards) and horizontal planes are fitted slightly aft. It is assumed that a tricycle undercarriage will be in play for ground-running. Internally, Fly-by-Wire (FbW) will provide control support and realtime corrections as well as supply the platform with high maneuverability.
The Turkish Defense Industry has been planning for an indigenous advanced jet trainer (as well as an indigenous combat fighter for that matter) since the latter part of the last decade. Negotiations with TAI then occurred to cover conceptual work and the project picked up steam in September of 2011. The subsequent years were set aside for studying the various facets of the project including ongoing (and future) Turkish Air Force operational needs, concept work and local industry capabilities intended to bring the aircraft to fruition.
The Turkish Air Force plans on acquiring around seventy Hurjets to succeed its aging fleet of T-38 trainers.