Libya apparently orders Hurkus aircraft


Libya has apparently ordered Hurkus turboprops from Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), years after first expressing interest in the type.

The Libya Observer on 21 May reported that the Libyan Air Force, with the support of the Libyan government, had signed a contract with TAI for an undisclosed number of Hurkus 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.

In 2014, Libya expressed interest in T-129 attack helicopters and Hurkus turboprops, with a Libyan official that year touring TAI’s production facilities.

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 had not responded to a request for comment by the time of publication.