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On December 5th, a presentation took place showing Turkey’s first indigenous helicopter engine – the TS1400.
Showcasing the height of Turkish engineering at the presentation that showed significant attendance, despite COVID-19, the engine rather gave a close look to everybody present at a critical failure of operation.
There is also a video of the event.
The broadcast was interrupted. The event, which was attended by Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, was broadcast live. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also followed the event.
The TS1400 is to power Turkey’s T625 multirole helicopter.
“Certification and development test flights of the Gökbey are continuing successfully. The home-grown engine has been integrated into the helicopter. We test a new feature or a new capability and the pilots quite like it,” TAI Helicopter Vice General Manager Yıldırım Kemal Yıllıkçı told Anadolu Agency (AA) on the sidelines of Turkey’s Teknofest event, held in September 2020.
Under the TLUH Program TUSAS has completed the design, development and the manufacture of an indigenous twin-engine, 5-ton class medium category (4 to 6 tons), utility helicopter with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 6,050 tons and powered by a pair of 1,400 shp class turboshaft engines.
The TS1400 Turboshaft Engine Development Project is considered to be a giant step toward achieving the company’s vision of becoming a “Globally Competitive, Original Power Systems OEM.”
The TEI TS1400 engine is expected to have similar dimensions and weight with the LHTEC CTS800-4A/4AT Turboshaft Engines, which have a reputation for compactness, light weight, reliability, power and durability. In open sources, the dry weight of the LHTEC CTS800-4A Engine (with a length of 86,4 cm and height of 72,9 cm) is stated to be 360 lbs. (163 kg).
It appears that the reliability part of that requires some more effort.
The TEI TS1400 Turboshaft Engine can also be integrated into T129 Mk-I ATAK Helicopter with some adaptations to replace LHTEC CTS800-4A Engines for which Turkey has been experiencing difficulties for several years in obtaining an export license from the U.S. Government.
With U.S. Congress adding a provision to the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act that Turkey is to be sanctioned for its purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defense system, the noose around Turkey’s military-industrial complex is tightening.
Recently, Canada stopped all of its imports of parts that are critical for Turkey’s Bayraktar TB2 drones.
Austria banned all weapons exports to Turkey, and Germany as well. Other countries are likely to follow. As such Ankara needs a win in its indigenous production of engines – both helicopter and aircraft (be it UAV or even manned), so far there’s evidently limited success.
Anadolu Agency, disregarding the failure, reported that Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank, speaking at the opening ceremonies of a turboshaft engine delivery facility and a design center of TUSAS Engine Industries (TEI) said that the engine would avert $60 million of imports.
Turkey is one of seven countries with gas turbine engine technology, he stressed.
“The new design center that will make indigenous engines will be the starting point of our new success stories.”
Varank said that while the per-kilogram value of Turkish exports is currently at $1.50, this figure has risen to over $50 in the defense industry.
“The export value of our first national helicopter engine TS 1400 is $6,000 per kilogram,” he added.
No mention was made that the engine apparently failed.
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