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Turkish TF-X 5th Gen Fighter META Thread

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posted on Jun, 19 2019 @ 10:19 AM
Turkey has been working on an indigenously manufactured fighter for a few years now. They have been actively awarding contracts for some time. The intent is to have a 5th gen fighter of their own.

Turkish government officials have wanted a locally produced bird both to develop their own local aerospace industry and to slowly free them up from being dependent on foreign imports. Their belief is they can develop the aircraft for themselves and then offset the costs by exporting it. This is not a new model: the french have been doing this for ages. The F-35, in some ways, is exactly this from the initial recipe. A 5th gen fighter with minimal caveats on the export market would be huge. After all, the American exports come with serious strings. The Chinese are not exporting their 5th gens as yet and folks are getting nervous about the rising power. Even when they are being helpful.

Before everyone starts mocking the Turks with comments of 'oh they can't' and whatnot, Turkey's economy based on PPP is larger than South Korea. That means if South Korea can afford their KF-X, the Turks can afford their TF-X. Their aerospace companies have been producing parts for the F-35 and have produced a number of UCAVs of which have been blooded in combat. Yes, UCAVs. Something the Russians have been struggling with.

The Turks just unveiled their mockup of the aircraft at the Paris Airshow (2019 for future googling reference). The images are below.

I'm not having much luck on finding a good rear view. The bad pix I have seen seem to show a F-22 style arrangement rather than an F-35 or other aircraft. The aircraft in general seems very much like a hybrid - from looking at it, not technical details! - of an F-35 and F-22.

More info: te-looms/

posted on Jun, 19 2019 @ 10:46 AM
Get ready for a ton of "It's just an F-22 ripoff" comments. Heh. I heard that a lot when it was first unveiled. It's really not a bad design though.

posted on Jun, 19 2019 @ 10:54 AM
I don't think either Korea or Turkey can afford the development process. Same reason Japan dropped it's indigenous program in favour of more F-35's, and China is slowly fielding only one of their designs, and Russia is taking a slow approach to PAK-FA, and the F-35 is a decade late and overbudget.

But Turkey does have a relatively healthy aerospace industry, yes. None of the European or Turkish mockups mean anything to me until they freeze a design and cut metal. None of them seem to have even arrived at a firm set of requirements yet. It's all marketing, and Paris is one of the premier advertising opportunities every year.

posted on Jun, 19 2019 @ 10:59 AM
a reply to: Zaphod58

I am totally expecting it.

There are a lot of similarities. But then, as we have said, there are only so many ways to build a 5th gen fighter: form following function.

It won't be as performant, just based on engines alone, but it has significant promise.

posted on Jun, 19 2019 @ 11:00 AM

originally posted by: Zaphod58
Get ready for a ton of "It's just an F-22 ripoff" comments. Heh. I heard that a lot when it was first unveiled. It's really not a bad design though.

It doesn't/won't have the volume, thrust, systems, or alignment (or other signature mitigation techniques) the Raptor has, so it isn't a particularly good rip. Someone needs to field a F-5 analogue with signature control, and they'll make a lot of money. But it's almost as expensive to develop as an ATF-class fighter and far less capable, than even a F-35 (which would be hard to beat on price without a large buy) so people are trying to skip ahead and chase the dream. Not particularly a wise investment, imo.

posted on Jun, 19 2019 @ 11:01 AM
a reply to: RadioRobert

Japan just swerved back and is going to develop their own again. Abe has given the program his support.

posted on Jun, 19 2019 @ 11:04 AM

originally posted by: Zaphod58
Get ready for a ton of "It's just an F-22 ripoff" comments. Heh. I heard that a lot when it was first unveiled. It's really not a bad design though.

Say what you want, but it would take some close observation to distinguish this jet from the f22 at a fairly close range.

I've heard the same from the f18 and mig29.

On a side note this looks like another stealth platform that everyone screams doesnt work...

posted on Jun, 19 2019 @ 11:05 AM

originally posted by: anzha
a reply to: Zaphod58

But then, as we have said, there are only so many ways to build a 5th gen fighter: form following function.

That's not particularly true. Look how diverse the ATF proposals were. People copy the F-22 shape because it's proven and related information is generally available. The Raptor isn't even optimized as a design for the things most people now think are critical in a new fighter. J-20 has far more volume and is optimized for supersonic maneuvering, for example, and represents a more modern design (in goal, anyway) than the Raptor.

posted on Jun, 19 2019 @ 11:06 AM
a reply to: Bluntone22

It's not very close to the F-22, no, but that hasn't stopped the comments. It's really not a bad design all in all, but it's not going to be an easy development.

posted on Jun, 19 2019 @ 11:11 AM
a reply to: RadioRobert

Have a link for the actual ATF proposals?

There are "artist impressions" that I have seen, but they are often wildly different than what the companies that won the prototype contracts built.

posted on Jun, 19 2019 @ 11:56 AM
a reply to: Zaphod58

Considering that 5th Gen aircraft are noted for highly advanced radar and tracking systems coupled with high tech guided missles and BVR technologies, I simply cant quite imagine how the Turks are ever going to acquire that technology. Can they "buy" it? Even the Russians are having trouble mastering all of that.

Just dont see it.

posted on Jun, 19 2019 @ 02:51 PM
a reply to: anzha

There have been several pre - and post-direction change ATF designs released into the wild that were not art. Beyond that, just look at the two finalists who took drastically different approaches and both met or exceeded the requirements.

posted on Jun, 19 2019 @ 05:48 PM
Just a personal opinion, i love the F22 but always prefered the F23 for looks.

Other countries aircraft are going to look the same(ish) as they are all playing catch-up to America, and if America has produced the aircraft and used it in war, they know the design works and works well.

The real difference will be materials used for stealth, performance, range and munitions the aircraft can carry, and America seems to be way ahead of everyone else.

posted on Jun, 19 2019 @ 06:09 PM
a reply to: TonyS

They've got access to radar systems that will work, and I'm fairly sure Russia would be willing to sell them some pretty good radars if they can't get them from the West.

posted on Jun, 19 2019 @ 07:46 PM
Rockwell or what is supposed to be:

Rockwell's wasn't terribly stealthy.

GD, looks pretty F-22-ish:

The Grumman design looks like a cross between the "Companion" mythology and the SR-71.

The Boeing drawings look a lot like the final configuration of the X-32.

So, actually, it's looking like there are only so many ways to design an stealthy 5th gen.

posted on Jun, 19 2019 @ 08:50 PM
It's been a while, but I think Rockwell or MDD was lowest rank in the "they don't get it" club after the USAF pushed LO. High marks for aerodynamics (and aesthetics), though. And aside from signature, shares features with the eventual YF-23 in general arrangement. There was also another Rockwell proposal that had better signature, but still struggled to meet the early requirements, and came short on the more strict requirements.

GD had signature and stability problems they could not solve at the same time for the new requirements, too. Large delta with a variety of tail arrangements including podded midboards until they gave up and went single tail. Also doesn't look much like the Raptor to me (although in some respects was closer than the Lockheed hard proposal at the same timeframe). I think they placed third. Smaller design than the F-15'ish size (or larger) other proposals.

Boeing designs stressed supersonic requirements.. bigger, faster, probably better multirole growth. Their proposal was heavy on the same industrial application arguments that their JSF proposal made, stressing cost. Single inlet for twin engine was bold. Just behind GD. Looks nothing like a Raptor.

Lockheed 's Raptor didn't look much like a Raptor at that point either. Underwent significant design changes after the teamup with the also-rans.

Northrop looked quite a bit similar to the YF-23, mostly a change to three body arrangement for better supersonic and high-lift performance, and some signature refinement. Looks nothing like a Raptor in either configuration.

posted on Jun, 20 2019 @ 09:37 AM
Backing up a bit. As you noted, most of the ATF proposals had zilch to do with the final product. Even the Lockheed bird had nada to do with the F-22, really. After they started working, the Lockheed folks came up with the YF-22. Anyone can scribble down a baseline design, but what really matters is what is built.

So, let's go over what was actually built.

The YF-22 alikes: The YF-22/F-22, F-35, J-31, X-2 and the projected KF-X and TFX all have similar bauplans. Very similar. There are at least 4 design teams converging on that bauplan. It makes me strongly think there is a convergence here strongly than just 'copying.'

The YF-23. While elements of this aircraft have cropped up in other aircraft, it remains unique. Which is part of its appeal to aircraft fans, myself included.

The X-32: This one seems to be close to a one off as well. Like the 23, the 32 has elements that appear to be copied, but by and large it seems to be rather unique.

The J-20 may be its own thing as well. Some of the KFX and TFX aircraft designs considered something like it and even some of the earliest work for the X-35 seemed similar, if smaller. It's not too far off from the F-22 bauplan though.

The Su-57 seems to draw some elements from the 23 designs, but it probably is convergence. The proposed Tempest and FCAS also seem to borrow from the YF-23, but also seem to draw in the X-32. It could its own thing, but then the RCS here is very much in question, not just from details you like to dismiss, but also from the paper that was published in the white world on the RCS by the brazilian researchers.

The Tempest and FCAS seem to borrow from the X-32 and YF-23. But they are really, really early and are likely to change. Its possible the KF-X and TFX will; however, they're far further along in their programs than the two 6th gens and they may be 6th gens rather than 5th.

My point is of the actually flown aircraft, nearly half are convergent on a single bauplan and two more are probably going to use a similar one. Of those that are going into production or are planned to do so, the percentage goes even higher: the X-32 and YF-23 are dead ends or so it appears.

To you, it means everyone is just copying.

To me, it would suggest there is a limited way to make a stealthy 5th gen to me: you use similar technologies in similar roles you are going to get similar shapes. Convergent evolution happens in tech a well as in biology.

posted on Jun, 20 2019 @ 09:53 PM
a reply to: anzha

There are multiple ways to get a fifth gen fighter.
Here are several in-house designs from Boeing.

None of them look like an F-22...

People use/borrow the F-22's design features because it works and they don't need to reinvent the wheel. That does not make those design features the only or even the best solutions to design requirements.

ATF, JAST, MRF, CALF, ASTOVL, JSF, etc. A myriad of more or less unique designs to different requirements which would all meet fifth generation "standards".

The F-22 shape is just the most studied and "pre-developed" to invent a term, for a design team to begin with. Since development time and RCS study is expensive, you see it a lot.

Even within the F-22 family evolution we've seen that you could change the wingshape and/or add a lerx to gain maneuverability, change to a delta to increase range and payload and supersonic performance, go to variable sweep for a broader range of efficiency and short-field/low-speed performance, and still meet performance and signature requirements.

But the vast majority of 5Gen fighters coming off smaller efforts all seem to "heavily leverage" (to be kind) the F-22 experience.

I'm not making a moral or ability judgement. And there's no reason that smart people from any nation could not develop a unique (from the F-22) fifth-generation approach. That would just cost a lot more money and time. So they don't.

The Su-57 went it's own way emphasizing maneuverability and range. J-20 is handicapped by material and production technology and powerplant questions, but is in many ways driven by more "modern" requirements than the F-22 requirements emphasizing supersonic maneuverability and range. It also leveraged previous work. Which there is nothing inherently wrong with.

From a practical standpoint because of the prohibitive costs involved, it makes good sense to leverage that work. From a pure design/performance standpoint, it would be better to develop your own design optimized to more operationally relevant requirements than the F-22's forty year old approach to outdated operational presumptions (that is not a slag on the F-22, but looking back, I think you'd see the air force take a different approach to ATF and JSF than they took. And the F-35 design de-emphasized many of the things everyone thought was essential in the ATF program. An eventual next-step will have completely differently weighted requirements than either as well.)

posted on Jan, 19 2020 @ 02:18 PM

posted on Jan, 19 2020 @ 07:51 PM
Same problem everyone has: $

Plus, antagonizing everyone you want tech transfer and workshare/licensed production from is probably putting a cramp on their style.

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