Chad and Niger to receive Hurkus aircraft from Turkey

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Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has confirmed orders for its Hurkus turboprop from Chad and Niger, with deliveries set to begin at the end of this year.

In November 2021 it was reported that Turkey would supply Hurkus light attack/trainer aircraft to Niger along with several Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and armoured personnel carriers from Nurol Makina. Hurkus deliveries were originally scheduled to begin in mid-2022 but two aircraft are now set to be delivered from the end of this year, Daily Sabah reports, quoting TAI Deputy General Manager Atilla Dogan. The first batch of Nigerien pilots are being trained ahead of deliveries.

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

Chad has become the next African Hurkus customer, with TAI revealing the order in July this year. Chad’s aircraft will be configured for light attack as well as training. Dogan told Daily Sabah that three aircraft will be delivered in the first quarter of 2023.

“We know that the returns will be good after we deliver the first planes to Niger and Chad and once they start using them,” Dogan said. “Then we know that additional orders will come from both Niger and Chad as well as other potential countries.”

Libya has apparently also ordered Hurkus aircraft, but this has not been confirmed by the manufacturer. The Libyan deal apparently was concluded in May this year with the Libyan government, which apparently acquired an undisclosed number of Hurkus C trainer and close support aircraft.

The Hurkus is a tandem two-seat, low-wing, single-engine turboprop aircraft that was designed as a new-generation trainer as well as a platform for performing light-attack and armed reconnaissance combat missions. The Hurkus-A is the basic version that can be used by non-military customers while the Hurkus-B is a more advanced version with more sophisticated avionics.

The Hurkus-C is an armed variant that can be used for close air support. It is fitted with a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor and can carry 1 500 kg of weaponry. It has been seen fitted with L-UMTAS anti-tank guided missiles, Cirit laser-guided rockets and external fuel tanks. It will also be able to carry bombs, 12.7 mm machineguns and 20 mm cannon pods.

The Hurkus-A first flew in August 2013 and the aircraft is in production for the Turkish military. Powered by a PT6A-68T turboprop, the aircraft has a maximum cruise speed of more than 570 km/h, an endurance of over four hours and a range of nearly 1 500 km.

TAI is working on an improved Hurkus II, and the jet-powered Hurjet trainer.