Turkey Wants to Build Its Own Version of the F-22 Stealth Fighter

David Axe

David Axe


Good luck with that. 

Turkey Wants to Build Its Own Version of the F-22 Stealth Fighter

Turkish Aerospace Industries revealed a mockup of a new stealth fighter at the Paris Air Show on June 17, 2019.

Don’t get excited.

The mockup of the TF-X fighter bears a resemblance to the U.S. Air Force’s own F-22. But whereas the F-22 is a real, front-line warplane with an actual combat record, the TF-X is unlikely to even get built.

Developing a stealth fighter is expensive. Just three countries in theory can do it without spending themselves into a crisis: the United States, China and Russia.

And just two of them -- America and China -- actually have done it. Russia’s Su-57 program has struggled to reliably produce meaningful numbers of working planes.

Turkey, with the world’s 17th-largest economy, is unlikely to join that exclusive club.

The War Zone reporter Joseph Trevithick has written the best explainer on the likely-doomed Turkish fighter.

The Turkish government first announced the TF-X program, also known as the National Combat Aircraft, which abbreviated MMU in Turkish, in 2010. TAI won the contract to develop the aircraft, in 2015.

The Turkish air force plans to eventually replace the bulk of its American-made Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Viper fighter jets with this indigenous design and hoping to have the first examples enter service as early as 2028.

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