Turkey’s first indigenous modern domestic aircraft was introduced on Wednesday by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at a ceremony at Halic Congress Center in Istanbul.
Speaking at the ceremony, Davutoglu said the country's first domestically designed airliner is built on the legacy of Nuri Demirag’s work. The date, 27 May, was chosen intentionally because in 1944 Turkey’s first domestic aircraft, NU-D-38, made its first flight successfully from Istanbul to Ankara.
This very first domestic aircraft had been produced in the factory of Nuri Demirag’s, who was an early Turkish industrialist and responsible for many projects such as the Bosphorus Bridge and Turkey’s first domestically-produced parachute.
Demirdag’s factory closed down in the 1950s after an unfortunate accident killed one of Turkey’s first aircraft engineers, Selahattin Resit Alan.
The Turkish Aeronautical Association (THK) canceled its airplane orders and a law was introduced by the then administration to stop sales of Demirag’s Turkish-designed plane to foreign countries.
The aircraft revealed on Wednesday is planned to be used for regional flights and will have a capacity of 70 passengers. It is expected to begin service in 2019, “the first plane will be built within the framework of Dornier 328 model” PM Davutoglu said.
The planes will not only be used as passenger airliners but also as a military transport aircraft, VIP planes and air ambulances.
An agreement with Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), which has the production rights to manufacture the German Dornier 328 airplane, was made at the end of ceremony.
The manufacture of the plane will be undertaken by Defence Technologies Engineering Trade Inc. in coordination with the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries. Engineers who worked in the ATAK project, developing the country's first locally manufactured assault helicopter unveiled in 2014, will also be a part of the domestic aircraft project.
In addition, Turkey's main battle tank known as the ALTAY was set for mass production starting from this year and will enter into use by the Turkish Armed Forces by 2018.