Chad Hurkus trainer aircraft 640Chad opts for Hürkuş

Chad is the second African nation after Niger to acquire the next generation Hürkuş basic training aircraft from Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAŞ). At the Farnborough Air Show 2022, the company confirmed that an undisclosed number of the type had be sold to the country for use with the Armée de l'Air Tchadienne (Chad Air Force).

The order was revealed by Temel Kotil, CEO of TUSAŞ, during an interview with CNN Türk. He confirmed that the platform would be used in its training role and noted that it would also provide the Chadian military with a light attack capability. “This aircraft is used for training and war preparation,” he said. “we can equip it with missiles.” he added.

Temel Kotil explained that there would be additional Hürkuş sales to Niger in the future, adding that the first batch of pilots are currently being trained and that the first aircraft will be delivered before the end of 2022. Niger has also ordered armoured personnel carriers (APCs) from Turkey’s Nurol Makina, in addition to the turboprop trainer/light attack aircraft.

In November 2021, Turkish President Recep Erdogan revealed that Niger was acquiring Bayraktar TB2 medium altitude long endurance (MALE) Unmanned Combat Aerial Systems (UCAS) and Hürkuş aircraft as well as APCs to boost the capacities of its military and security forces. The first Hürkuş was due to be delivered to Niger by mid-2022.

Roketsan will be supplying missiles and smart rockets to Niger. They will likely be used to arm the Hürkuş and the Bayraktar TB2 UCAS - Roketsan manufactures the MAM and MAM-L guided munitions and UMTAS missiles used by the TB2. The Hürkuş-C can carry L-UMTAS anti-tank guided missiles, Cirit laser-guided rockets, bombs, and cannon pods, although it is not yet clear which variant of the Hurkus Niger will actually be getting.

On 21 May 2022, the Libya Observer reported that the Libyan Air Force, with the support of the Libyan government, had signed a contract with TAI for an undisclosed number of Hürkuş-C trainer and close air support aircraft. The publication reports the agreement was signed on 19 May by the Libyan Air Force Chief of Staff and Turkish Aerospace Industries officials, but that deal was not discussed by Kotil when he was discussing the sales to Niger and Chad. Scramble Magazine reported on this sale on 25 May 2021.

Powered by a single Pratt & Whitney PT6A-68T turboprop engine, the Hürkuş boast a maximum speed of 310kts (574km/h) and a range of 798nm (1,478km) at 15,000ft (4,572m), with an 4,25-hour endurance at the same altitude. The type has an operational service ceiling of 34,701ft (10,577m) and can be fitted with a range of armaments, comprising 12,7mm and 20mm gun pods; rockets; missiles and guided/unguided bombs.

Photo (just illustrative) by TAI

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