By Yusuf Ozcan
PARIS (AA) - The mockup of Turkey's first national combat jet -- the Turkish Aerospace Industries' (TAI)-developed TF-X made debut on Monday in the Paris Air Show, the largest aerospace-industry event in the world.
With the TF-X, Turkey aims to meet the operational needs of the Turkish Armed Forces (TFA) in the mid-term.
TAI General Manager Temel Kotil told Anadolu Agency this was the first time the fifth-generation national combat aircraft was showcased.
"It is going to be the best fighter aircraft in Europe," he said, adding that the TF-X would bear similar features to the F-35 fighter jets produced by the U.S.-based Lockheed Martin, and the epicenter of a dispute between Turkey and the U.S. for the past few months.
Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have simmered over Ankara’s purchase of the S-400 Russian missile defense systems.
Washington claims the purchase will jeopardize Turkey's role in the F-35 fighter jet program and has threatened sanctions.
Turkey has said there is no conflict between the S-400 and the F-35 and has called for a working group to clarify the issue.
Kotil added that the TF-X’s maiden flight was planned to be carried out in 2025.
- TK129 ATAK helicopter
Turkey’s TK129 ATAK multirole combat helicopter also joined the prestigious show with a demonstration flight.
With its high performance and maneuverability, as well as with durability against heavy blows and ballistic strikes, the ATAK helicopter provides its pilots with superior operational capability.
In line with Turkey’s ATAK program, the Turkish Armed Forces will be provided a total of 91 helicopters, with an option on 32 more, with the Interior Ministry receiving another nine.
In addition to Turkey’s TF-X fighter jet display and ATAK helicopter demonstration flight, several other systems will also be displayed at the show, including the Gokbey helicopter, Anka unmanned aerial vehicle and Hurjet, a training jet and light attack aircraft.
*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas