Turkey has named its indigenously-developed T625 multirole helicopter as ‘Gökbey’, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Wednesday (Dec. 12).
Erdoğan revealed the name at the Turkish Defense Industry Summit held at the Beştepe Presidential Palace Complex in capital Ankara. Erdoğan said that the name was decided on after long consultations.
TAI T625 Gökbey is a twin-engined 6-ton class transport/utility helicopter being developed by the Türk Havacılık ve Uzay Sanayii A.Ş. (TUSAŞ), known internationally as Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).
Development of the helicopter started in 2010 and was publicly announced in 2011. Under the Indigenous Helicopter Project, the Under-Secretariat for Defense Industries (SSM, Savunma Sanayii Müsteşarlığı) of Turkey signed the contract with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI – Türk Havacılık ve Uzay Sanayii A.Ş., TUSAŞ) in 2013 to develop the helicopter for both domestic and international markets.
The T625 is powered by 2 LHTEC CTS800 engines. The LHTEC CTS800 engines were chosen due to commonality with TAI/AgustaWestland T129 but Turkish industry has begun work to develop an indigenous powerplant of its own, called the TS1400. Alp Aviation is responsible for production and assembly of landing gear, gearbox and dynamic components, while Spanish firm CESA will be responsible for hydraulic systems.
The helicopter is designed for two crew and 12 passengers. The large cabin space can be arranged to meet various operational needs, such as VIP transportation, ambulance and search & rescue operations. Civil certification process of the helicopter is ongoing with the Turkish Directorate General of Civil Aviation and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The helicopter performed its maiden flight Sept. 6 and the serial production is expected to begin after 2021.