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in Defence / General Aviation / Features

Turkey’s indigenous TAI T625 takes to the sky

Posted 11 April 2019 · Add Comment

The first prototype of the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) T625 multi-role helicopter made its 20-minute maiden flight on September 6 2018, at the company’s facilities in Ankara, writes Jon Lake.

The helicopter’s general handling, transmission and rotor systems were assessed and the aircraft performed as expected.
Wearing the Turkish civil registration TC-HLP, the aircraft made its maiden flight in primer finish, and with its doors and upper fuselage fairings absent.
The T625 is a new-generation, six tonne, light intermediate helicopter designed to meet a range of military, paramilitary and civilian requirements.
It was completely developed by TAI and all critical systems, including the transmission, rotors, landing gear, and aerostructures, have been designed and built by the company.
The T625 is powered by two LHTEC CTS800 turboshaft engines, while Aselsan is providing the state-of-the-art avionics, including two wide touchscreens (8×20 inches) and two smaller touchscreens (8×10 inches) for the cockpit.
The aircraft has a large cabin for its weight, and accommodates two pilots and up to 12 passengers.
Initially named Özgün (Original), work on the T625 began in 2010.
The indigenous helicopter programme was formally launched in June 2013 when TAI and the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) signed an initial contract.
The T625 designation was revealed and explained in December 2016. The digits chosen denote the six tonne maximum take-off weight, the two engines, and the five bladed main rotor.
Civil certification of the helicopter is already ongoing with the Turkish Directorate General of Civil Aviation, and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification is targeted for 2020, with full production set to begin in 2021.
Several government agencies in Turkey have expressed an interest in acquiring the T625, including the ministry of health, and the forestry and police services.
The Turkish Army also intends to replace its 86-strong fleet of Bell UH-1Hs with the T625.
TAI also hopes that the aircraft will perform well on the export market.
In December 2018, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan revealed that the T625 would be named Gökbey. Erdogan made the announcement during the Turkish Defense Industry Summit at the Beştepe Presidential Palace complex in Ankara.
 

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