Pakistan and Turkiye are working to conduct the first flight of their fifth-generation fighter aircraft TF-X next month, sources said.
Pakistan officially entered the stealth aircraft programme with Turkish Aerospace Industries. The aircraft made its first taxiway earlier this year with its flight scheduled for the next month, they added.
According to sources, Pakistan and Turkiye want to phase out their F-16s and induct the TF-X in place of these jets, with the former planning to induct the TF-X in its air force by 2030.
The stealth aircraft has a length of 21 metres and a wingspan of 14 metres. Its takeoff weight is 27,125 kilogrammes and has a top speed of Mach 1.8.
With a combat range of 1,100 kilometres, the aircraft will have a service ceiling of 55,000 feet.
The TF-X boosts the US-made General Electric F110 engine, however, Pakistan has kept the UK’s Rolls Royce as an option if the United States objects to deploying its engine in the aircraft.
This marks a significant stride for the Pakistan Air Force, reintroducing twin-engine fighter jets after a prolonged period.
Beyond fighter jets, Pakistan and Turkiye are jointly delving into the production of unmanned aerial platforms.
The collaboration involves around 200 Pakistani experts contributing to the TFX project.
The National Aerospace Science and Technology Park of the Pakistan Air Force is set to play a pivotal role in the TFX initiative, according to Jane’s Defense.