President Erdogan stated that the TB2 UCAVs, HurkusCounter-insurgency (COIN) aircrafts and armoured vehicles, which Niger would procure from Turkey, would boost the capacities of its military and security forces. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone with President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger. Noting that he attached great importance to the relations with Niger, President Erdogan voiced his belief that Niger would maintain its close cooperation in the fight against the FETO. Türkiye-Niger relations and regional matters were discussed during the call. Conveying his condolences for those who lost their lives in an armed attack on Tuesday in Niger, President Erdogan expressed Türkiye’s support to Niger’s efforts to combat terror.
The TAI Hurkus (Free Bird) is a tandem two-seat, low-wing, single-engine, turboprop aircraft being developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) as a new basic trainer and ground attack aircraft for the Turkish Armed Forces. The aircraft is named after Vecihi Hurkus, a World War I and Turkish Independence War veteran pilot, a Turkish aviation pioneer and the first Turkish airplane manufacturer. The TAI Hurkus Development Program started with an agreement signed between Turkish Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) and TAI in March 2006. Under the agreement the company will design, manufacture and complete the civil certification the aircraft to European Aviation Safety Agency CS 23 standards. By June 2012 the Hurkus program had consumed one million man-hours with the work of 140 engineers.
The Hurkus will be equipped for day and night flying as well as basic pilot training, instrument flying, navigation training, weapons and formation training. The aircraft will have good visibility from both cockpits with a 50 degree down-view angle from the rear cockpit, cabin pressurization (nominal 4.16 psid), Martin-Baker Mk T-16 N 0/0 ejection seats, an onboard oxygen generation system (OBOGS), an Environmental Control System (Vapor Cycle Cooling), an anti-G system, high shock absorbing landing gear for training missions, and Hands On Throttle and Stick (HOTAS). Microtecnica of Turin, Italy has been selected to provide the aircraft’s environmental control system. The Hurkus has been designed for a 35-year service life.
In 2016, the Hurkus-A trainer aircraft was awarded a CS-23 Validation Type Certificate by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and an Aircraft Type Certificate by the Turkish Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The Turkish Army has an order for 15 Hurkus-B aircraft plus an option for 40 more. Deliveries are scheduled for mid 2017. In February 2017, photos were released by the Turkish MoD showing the prototype for armed version, the Hurkus-C. An armed version for the close air support role in addition to pilot training missions, will have a maximum weapons load of 3,300lb (1,500kg) and also carry a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor. On 7 April 2017, a Hurkus-C fired a Roketsan L-UMTAS anti-tank missile that successfully hit the target on the ground.