Turkey opens national warplane engineering center
By Osman Ozgan/Burak Dogan
The Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has inaugurated an engineering center for the National Combat Aircraft (MMU), Yeni Shafak has reported.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also attended the opening ceremony of the engineering center, which was built within the scope of the National Combat Aircraft (MMU) project under the coordination of the Defence Industries Presidency, the report added.
Yeni Shafak visited the center where engineers will work day and night for the national warplane. The center, which consists of 65,000 square meters of indoor space and nine blocks, will operate inside TAI.
The pieces of the national warplane such as the carrier keel (the main load-bearing part that provides the middle fuselage-wing interface), the keel beam (the main load-bearing part that forms the front fuselage keel structure) and the pressure wall (the main bearing part that forms the cockpit rear pressure wall) are being exhibited in the entrance section of the center.
The $16 million (220mln TL) project has been provided with high-level security and equipped with all the necessary technologies. Only authorized people with specific ID-card are allowed to enter the area where engineers work. In addition, each engineer can only enter the part he or she is authorized. There are also many special areas in the center, from crypto rooms to VIP meeting rooms, from seminar halls to simulation centers.
Around 2,000 engineers and technicians work for the National Combat Aircraft on a 24/7 basis. The aircraft will consist of 20,000 parts. This is where the drawing of each critically important piece, as well as production of software and design work, is carried out. In other words, engineers have combined their domestic and national engineering experience from software to critical systems at the center.
Every detail has been considered to keep the employees fit, and they have been given the opportunity to work without leaving the building. Thus, there are many social areas from the sports center to the cafeteria, from the green areas to the medical center. In addition, the autonomous library in the building has been created. The library, which is Turkey's first autonomous library named after Vecihi Hurkush (Turkish aviator), contains numerous works in the aviation field, space and computer engineering, science, literature, philosophy and psychology.
Another facility that is still under construction is the hangar located just behind the center. The plane leaving the production center will enter the hangar for the final tests.
The first plane is planned to be taken out of the hangar on March 18, 2023, the anniversary of the Canakkale victory. Ground tests will continue after that, and eventually, the first flight will take place in 2025. The national warplane will be put into operation in 2029.
Turkish engineers, who work in various international companies show great interest in the project by offering their support. In addition, the engineers in question are applying to be a part of the National Combat Aircraft Project, one of the brand projects of the Turkish defence industry. Currently, there are many engineers who left their careers abroad and returned to Turkey and took part in this project. In addition to the applications, negotiations continue to bring in new ones.
The construction works of the wind tunnel and the production center are continuing right next to the engineering center. The wind tunnel will be Europe's second-largest one in Turkey. After the engineering works, the assembly processes of the national jet will also be carried out in this production center.
In the National Combat Aircraft Project, more than 1,000 of the 2,000 main carrier parts have been sent to production so far. By the end of March, all of the main structural parts for the body assembly activities will start.
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