Turkey has begun engine ground runs and slow speed taxi trials for its TF-X fifth-generation stealth fighter, also known as the National Combat Aircraft (MMU), which will fly for the first time by the end of 2023.

Turkey claims that the basic prototype will be tested, and that many changes will be made to the aircraft before it goes into production, as more design refinement may be required to make it a low-observable platform.

The TF-X prototype is powered by the same General Electric F110 engines that power the F-16, while Turkey’s TRMotor and Rolls-Royce will collaborate to develop a new engine that could be ready by the end of the decade.

National Combat Aircraft in its basic prototype is described as a 4.5gen fighter aircraft as Turkey will slow make progress to develop a 5th gen fighter aircraft by 2028, National Combat Aircraft and the South Korean KAI KF-21 Boramae fighter jet programme will begin as a 4.5 generation programme but will transition to a 5th generation fighter aircraft in the next ten years, whereas India has taken a more radical approach in developing the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), which will begin as a 5th generation fighter jet in the Mk1 tranche and will transition to a 5.5 generation fighter in the Mk2 tranche in 2035.