The National Combat Aircraft (MMU), a fifth-generation fighter being developed by Turkey, began taxiing tests on the runway.
According to Türkiye defense site Savunmasanayist, yesterday (Thursday, March 16) the MMU prototype took to the runway powered by its own engines to begin the next phase of ground testing, successfully completing its first taxi test.
Milli Muharip Uçak motor çalıştırarak piste çıktı!
Detaylar ve testten fotoğraflar, haberimizde: https://t.co/0T23eO2yFu pic.twitter.com/MsObrHVySK
— SavunmaSanayiST.com (@SavunmaSanayiST) March 17, 2023
The aircraft was also given a coat of low visibility gray paint in preparation for the rollout ceremony to be held tomorrow.
MMU, a Turkish fifth generation fighter
The TF-X or MMU project, intended to replace the Turkish Air Force’s (Türk Hava Kuvvetleri) F-16s from 2030/35, was launched on August 5, 2016. Designed with an emphasis on air-to-air missions, the MMU will be a multi-role stealth fighter, which will also be able to perform air-to-surface missions.
Originally, the first flight of the MMU was scheduled for 2026, however, it was brought forward to the last weeks of 2023, which will undoubtedly impose great efforts on the Turkish defense industry.
The production of 3 MMU Block 0 prototypes is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2026. From 2029, it is intended to start production activities of the next Block I configuration and deliver 10 Block I units to the Turkish Air Force.
As in the case of the South Korean KF-21 Boramae program, the first block aircraft would belong to the 4.5 generation, and as relevant technologies are developed, such as new engines (prototypes and first series aircraft will use General Electrics’ GE F110, produced in Turkey under license), the Turkish fighter should be able to fit into the 5th generation aircraft, such as the F-35, starting from block 1.