TAI Officially Designates New Turkish Light Utility Helicopter as T-625

T-625 Artist Impression, closely resembling the AW139. Image courtesy Pakistan Defense.

Turkish Aerospace Industries gave an official designation to their newest offering, the T-625.

Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), known for making their own variants of the Airbus Helicopters Tiger helicopter and the Sikorsky UH-60, the T-128 and T70 respectively, designated their new helicopter  as the T-625 recently as they continue towards the goal of developing their own twin-engine helicopter that will accommodate up to 12 passengers. The helicopter, slated to enter the five-ton light utility class is being designed primarily in a military capacity, with the design also capable of acting in multi mission deployment for other functions in the civilian market, with goals of competing in the light utility export market once the aircraft is certified. The company aims to compete with the likes of the popular Leonardo Helicopters AW139, already widely used in the market.

Officials from Turkish aircraft Manufacturer TAI mark the launch of the T-625 designation in Turkey
Officials from Turkish aircraft Manufacturer TAI mark the launch of the T-625 designation in Turkey

TAI has spent considerable resources developing a supply chain that will allow all manufacturing to stay local over the last ten years, thanks to lessons learned from earlier procurement of the Sikorsky based T70 (from the UH-60) and Airbus Tiger based T129 which have seen obstacles over the years with efforts by TAI to market their variants internationally. The company has high hopes for the helicopter, initially projecting a total of eight hundred aircraft being sold over the aircraft’s lifespan, projecting four hundred of those sales to be export sales.

Initial planning to design and build the T-625 commenced in 2013 with TAI being awarded the contract to develop a light utility helicopter prototype commissioned by the Turkish Government that would have military and civilian applications as well as the economic boost of increasing jobs in the country through the local procurement of parts along with local production and ongoing maintenance to stay in Turkey, although nothing has been announced in relation to plans for third party support for any helicopters exported to foreign countries. TAI has committed to a flyable prototype being in the air in the last part of next year, with initial design and testing work already underway.

To execute the full development locally of the helicopter, the company still needs to design its own main gearbox and transmission for the helicopter and has enlisted the services of Turkish Defense contractor Aselsan to develop the helicopters electronic components and flight displays. No announcement has been made by TAI if they plan to develop a conventional or fly by wire control system for the helicopter. Initially, the T-625 will be supplied engines by the Turkish Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company, which is a partnership backed by the experience of manufacturers Honeywell and Rolls Royce who have slated the company’s T800 engine as the powerplant for the helicopter. TAI has eventual plans to develop their own engine for the helicopter with local supplier TUSAS Engine Industries.

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