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Turkish Air Force

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Aerial warfare

Ottoman Empire

Ankara, Turkey

Air force

Part of
Turkish Armed Forces

31 January 1944

Turkish Air Force httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumbc

1911 – present (105–106) years

60,000 personnel 668 aircraft

General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon

Electronic warfares
Boeing 737 AEW&C, CASA/IPTN CN-235

Airbus A400M Atlas, Lockheed C-130 Hercules, Transall C-160, CASA/IPTN CN-235, Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker

Turkish Land Forces, Turkish Naval Forces, Turkish Armed Forces, Jandarma, General Staff of the Republic

The Turkish Air Force (Turkish: Türk Hava Kuvvetleri) is the aerial warfare service branch of the Turkish Armed Forces. The Turkish Air Force can trace its origins back to June 1911 when it was founded by the Ottoman Empire, however, the air force as it is known today did not come into existence until 1923 with the creation of the Republic of Turkey.


Turkish Air Force F16 News Turkish Air Force

The Turkish Armed Forces initiated a $160 billion (excluding the yearly military budget) modernization program. $45 billion is earmarked to go to the overhaul of the Turkish Air Force. As part of this program, Ankara aims to commission new combat aircraft (consisting of TAI TFX and Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II) and helicopters (consisting of heavy lift, attack, medium lift and light general purpose helicopters).

Turkish Air Force Turkish Air Force Wikipedia

According to Flight International ( and the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Turkish Air Force has an active strength of 60,000 military personnel and operates approximately 668 manned aircraft (2014).

Turkish Air Force Turkish Air Force quotBest Pilots in the Worldquot YouTube

Initial stages

Turkish Air Force FileTurkish Air Force F4E Phantom II MOD 45157794jpg Wikimedia

The history of Ottoman military aviation dates back to between June 1909 and July 1911. The Ottoman flight squadrons participated in the Balkan Wars (1912–1913) and World War I (1914–1918). The fleet size reached its apex in December 1916, when the Ottoman aviation had 90 active combat aircraft. Some early help for the Ottoman Air Force came from the Imperial German Fliegertruppe (known by that name before October 1916), with future Central Powers 13-victory flying ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke flying with the Turks early in World War I as just one example. The General Inspectorate of Air Forces (Kuva-yı Havaiye Müfettiş-i Umumiliği) trying to reconstruct itself on July 29, 1918 had no personnel, but only remained as a title on paper.

After the end of World War I and the occupation of the Ottoman Empire by the Allies in 1919, some Turkish aviators tried to build new units in Istanbul, İzmir, Konya, Elazığ and Diyarbakır with planes left over from World War I and tried to bring together flight personnel. During the Turkish War of Independence, Turkish pilots joined the Konya Air Station (Konya Hava İstasyonu). With the formation of the Grand National Assembly (GNA) by Mustafa Kemal and his colleagues on April 23, 1920, in Ankara, and the reorganization of the army, the Branch of Air Forces (Kuva-yı Havaiye Şubesi) was established under the Office of War (Harbiye Dairesi) of the GNA. A few damaged aircraft belonging to the GNA were repaired, and afterwards used in combat.

On 1 February 1921, the Branch of Air Forces was renamed as the General Directorate of Air Forces (Kuva-yı Havaiye Müdüriyet-i Umûmiyesi) at Eskişehir and on 5 July 1922 reorganized as the Inspectorate of Air Forces (Kuva-yı Havaiye Müfettişliği) at Konya.

Inspectorate of Air Forces

After the proclamation of independence and sovereignty with the Treaty of Lausanne and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey on 29 October 1923, approaches were made to form a modern Air Force. Originally consisting of 3 normal and 1 naval aviation units, and an air school, the number of units was increased to 10 normal and 3 naval aviation units. Starting in 1924, personnel were sent abroad for flight education. In 1925 the Air School was reestablished in Eskişehir and its first students graduated in that same year. The Inspectorate of Air Forces was reorganized as Underdecretariat of the Ministry of Defense in 1928 and new schools were found for non-pilot personnel. Some personnel were sent to United Kingdom and France for training; others were sent to the United States and Italy in 1930.

On July 1, 1932, air regiments were considered to be a separate combat arm and started training its own personnel. The Turkish aviators began to wear blue uniforms from 1933.

Sabiha Gökçen became the first female fighter pilot in military history in 1937. Another key event in 1937 was the establishment of the Air War College (Hava Harp Akademisi).

Air Force Command

By 1940, Turkish air brigades had more than 500 combat aircraft in its inventory, becoming the largest air force in the Balkans and the Middle East. The growing inventory of air brigades required another structural change, which was made in 1940. The Air Undersecretariat under the Ministry of National Defense for logistical affairs and the General Staff for educational affairs were united to form the Air Force Command (Hava Kuvvetleri Komutanlığı) in 1944. Thus, the Air Force became a separate branch of the Turkish Armed Forces. The first Commander of the Turkish Air Force was General Zeki Doğan. Turkey did not enter World War II on the side of the Allies until February 1945. However, the Turkish Armed Forces went on full alert and were prepared for war following the military alliance between neighbouring Bulgaria and the Axis Powers which was formalized in March 1941, and the occupation of neighbouring Greece by the Axis Powers in April 1941. Within a year, Turkey's borders were surrounded by German forces in the northwest and west, and Italian forces in the southwest. The Turkish Air Force made daily reconnaissance flights over Bulgaria, Greece, the Greek Islands in the Aegean Sea, and the Dodecanese Islands which then belonged to Italy, to monitor the positions of the Axis forces. The large cities in western Turkey were darkened at nights, and anti-aircraft guns and searchlights were deployed for defence against possible enemy planes. Almost all available money in the Turkish Government Treasury was used to purchase new weapons from any available provider in the world. The Turkish Air Force received large numbers of new aircraft in this period, including Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I/V/IX/XIX, Curtiss Falcon CW-22R/B, Fairey Battle-I, Avro Anson-I, Hawker Hurricane I/II, Morane-Saulnier M.S.406, Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk, Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk, Westland Lysander-I, Consolidated B-24D Liberator B-24, Bristol Blenheim IV/V, Bristol Beaufort, Bristol Beaufighter Mk.I/X, Focke Wulf FW-190-A3, Martin 187 Baltimore, De Havilland DH.98 Mosquito Mk.III/IV, Douglas B-26B/C Invader, P-47D Thunderbolt and Douglas C-47A/B Dakota.

The Air Machinist School (Hava Makinist Okulu) was reorganized as Aircraft Maintenance School (Hava Uçak Bakım Okulu) on 2 January 1950 to unite schools responsible for training non-pilot Air Force personnel. In 1950 it also was decided to upgrade the Air Force fleet through the inclusion of jets. Eight pilots were sent to the United States for jet pilot training. They graduated in 1951 and started training jet pilots in the Turkish Air Force. In the same year, the 9th Fighter Wing (9uncu Ana Jet Üssü) was founded in Balıkesir as Turkey's first fighter wing; the 191st, 192nd, and 193rd squadrons being the first ones which were established. Further training in the United States followed, usually involving jet manufacturers. In 1951 the Air Force Academy was formed with integrating some air schools in Eskişehir and its first academic year started on 1 October 1951. In 1956 the Hava Eğitim Kolordu Komutanlığı (Air Education Corps Command) was founded and all education was united under this command. The command was renamed as Hava Eğitim Komutanlığı (Air Education Command) in 1957.

Upon Turkey's membership to NATO in 1952, the process of modernization was accelerated. In 1962 the Taktik Hava Kuvveti (Tactical Air Force) was founded by upgrading the Hava Tümeni (Air Division) units to corps-level organizations. In 1974 the Air Force was employed in the Cyprus War. With the arrival of 3rd generation fighter jets in 1980, the Air Force was reorganized.

Turkish Air Force and NATO

The headquarters of NATO's Allied Air Component Command for Southern Europe (formerly designated as AIRSOUTH and originally headquartered in Naples, Italy) was established in İzmir, Turkey, on 11 August 2004. Allied Air Command İzmir was deactivated on 1 June 2013, when the Allied Air Command (AIRCOM) at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany became the sole Allied Air Component Command of NATO.

Turkey is one of five NATO member states which are part of the nuclear sharing policy of the alliance, together with Belgium, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. A total of 90 B61 nuclear bombs are hosted at the Incirlik Air Base, 40 of which are allocated for use by the Turkish Air Force in case of a nuclear conflict, but their use requires the approval of NATO. As of 2010, the United States is considering withdrawing these nuclear bombs from Turkey, and from several other foreign locations in Europe.

Notable events

  • Sabiha Gökçen was the first Turkish female combat pilot. She joined the Turkish Air Force in 1936 and in 1937 took part in the military operation to put down the Dersim Revolt, thus becoming the world's first female air force pilot with battle experience. Throughout her career in the Turkish Air Force, which lasted until 1964, Gökçen flew 22 different types of aircraft for more than 8000 hours, 32 of which were active combat and bombardment missions. She was selected as the only female pilot for the poster of "The 20 Greatest Aviators in History" published by the United States Air Force in 1996.
  • In 1995, the Turkish Air Force took part in NATO's Operation Deliberate Force.
  • Turkey provided 18 F-16s for the NATO campaign against Serbia during Operation Allied Force in 1999. Of these, 11 TAI-built F-16s were stationed at the NATO base in Aviano, Italy, while the other 7 were based in Ankara, Turkey. All were equipped with laser-guided bombs using the LANTIRN night vision system. Turkish jets had previously patrolled Balkan airspace, providing protection for attacking aircraft. During this allied air campaign, TAI-built F-16s set a world CAP record by patrolling for 9 hours and 22 minutes above the Balkan theatre. Normally, CAP missions last between 3 and 4 hours.
  • Turkey participated in the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina, employing two squadrons (one in the Ghedi fighter wing, and after 2000 one in the Aviano fighter wing). They returned to Turkey in 2001.
  • In 2006, 4 Turkish F-16 fighter jets were deployed for NATO's Baltic Air Policing operation.
  • In December 2007, the Turkish Air Force initiated Operation Northern Iraq, which continued until the end of February 2008, eventually becoming a part of Operation Sun. At the initial phase of this operation, on December 16, 2007, the TuAF used the AGM-65 Maverick and AGM-142 Popeye/Have Nap during a night bombardment for the first time.
  • On 22 June 2012, a Turkish RF-4E Phantom II reconnaissance aircraft was lost, reportedly due to Syrian anti-aircraft fire. The incident happened over the Mediterranean Sea, close to the town of Ras al-Bassit.
  • On September 16, 2013, Turkish jets shot down a Syrian Mi-17 helicopter on the Syrian-Turkish border.
  • On 23 March 2014, Turkish fighter jets shot down a Syrian MiG-23. The Syrian Arab Republic claims that its aircraft was in Syrian airspace on a mission to attack rebel held areas in the city of Latakia when it was shot down by Turkey in an act of "blatant aggression." The Syrian pilot successfully ejected from the aircraft as the aircraft was being shot down. Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan stated that Turkish F-16s shot down the aircraft for violating Turkish airspace and said that the Turkish "response will be heavy if you violate our airspace."
  • On 24 November 2015, a Turkish F-16 shot down a Russian Su-24 Fencer strike aircraft which, according to Turkish authorities, had violated its airspace. The Russian Government contests those claims, stating that the aircraft never entered Turkish airspace. One Russian pilot was killed, the other rescued in a Russian special forces operation.
  • Fighter and reconnaissance aircraft

    In 1984 Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) was established and Turkey started to produce fighter aircraft locally under license, including a total of 232 F-16 Fighting Falcon (Block 30/40/50) aircraft for the air force. The air force had previously received 8 F-16s that were purchased directly from the United States, bringing the total number of F-16s received by the air force to 240. TAI is currently building 30 new F-16 Block 50+ aircraft for the TuAF and is applying a CCIP upgrade on the existing fleet of Block 30/40/50 F-16s, which will bring all of them to the Block 50+ standard. Dozens of TAI-built F-16s were also exported to other countries, particularly in the Middle East. A total of 46 TAI-built F-16s have been exported to the Egyptian Air Force under the Peace Vector IV Program (1993–1995), making it TAI's second-largest F-16 customer after the Turkish Air Force. Turkey is one of only five countries in the world which locally produce the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

    Airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft

    A total of four Boeing 737 AEW&C Peace Eagle (Turkish: Barış Kartalı) aircraft (together with ground support systems) were ordered by the Turkish Air Force, with an option for two more aircraft. Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is the primary subcontractor for the Peace Eagle parts production, aircraft modification, assembly and tests. Another subcontractor, Havelsan, is responsible for system analysis and software support.

    Signed on 23 July 2003, the contract to Boeing valued at US$1.385 billion, which was later reduced by US$59 million because some of the requirements were not met. The down payment to Boeing amounted to US$637 million. The project consists of the delivery of 737-700 airframes, ground radars and control systems, ground control segments for mission crew training, mission support and maintenance support.

    Peace Eagle 1 is modified and tested by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems in Seattle, Washington, USA. Peace Eagle 2, 3 and 4 are modified and tested at the facilities of TAI in Ankara, Turkey, with the participation of Boeing and a number of Turkish companies. As of 2006, the four Peace Eagle airplanes were scheduled to be delivered in 2008. As of mid-2007, systems integration was ongoing and airworthiness certification works continued. In September 2007, Boeing completed the first test flight of Turkey's AEW&C 737.

    On 4 June 2008, it was announced that Turkish Aerospace Industries completed the first in-country modification of a Boeing 737-700 into an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) platform for Turkey's Peace Eagle program.

    The first Peace Eagle aircraft, named Kuzey (meaning North) was formally accepted into Turkish Air Force inventory on 21 February 2014. The remaining three aircraft will be named Güney (South), Doğu (East) and Batı (West).

    The six-year delay was a result of Boeing experiencing difficulties while developing some features required by the Turkish Air Force. Turkey demanded compensation of US$183 million from Boeing for the delay. The payment of the penalty is requested in the form of increased start-up support period from an initially planned two years to five years, as well as three years of software maintenance service and around US$32 million in spare parts.

    Aerial refueling tanker aircraft

    In 1994 the Turkish Air Force signed a deal to lease two and purchase seven Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker aerial refueling tanker aircraft. Following the arrival of all seven purchased aircraft, the two leased KC-135Rs were returned to the United States. All seven KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft of the Turkish Air Force have received the Pacer CRAG (Compass, Radar And GPS) upgrade. The KC-135R-CRAG Stratotanker aerial refueling tanker aircraft of the Turkish Air Force are operated by the 101st Squadron, stationed at the Incirlik Air Base.

    Military transport aircraft

    Turkey is a partner nation in the Airbus A400M Atlas production program. The Turkish Air Force has ordered a total of ten A400M Atlas aircraft. The first two A400M Atlas were delivered to the Turkish Air Force in 2014. All A400M Atlas deliveries to the Turkish Air Force are scheduled to be completed by 2018. Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) produces several components of the A400M Atlas, including the middle-front fuselage, emergency exit doors, rear fuselage upper panels, rear upper escape doors, ailerons and spoilers; which are sent to the Airbus Military factory in Spain for assembly.

    Although the Airbus A400M Atlas is essentially a heavy tactical lift aircraft, it can also be transformed into an aerial refueling tanker aircraft at short notice.

    The Turkish Air Force also uses the CASA CN-235, C-130 Hercules and C-160 Transall military transport aircraft.

    Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)

    At present, the Turkish Air Force operates MALE UAVs such as the TAI Anka, Bayraktar Tactical UAS, IAI Heron and the I-GNAT ER. Having been unable to purchase the armed version of Predator UCAVs from the United States, Turkey plans to produce armed UCAV versions of TAI Anka (to be fitted with missiles such as the AGM-114 Hellfire and Roketsan Cirit); while TAI has become the leading partner in the Talarion UCAV project of EADS.


    Turkish Air Force operate an intelligence satellite named Göktürk-2, with plans to commission more in years ahead. These include a 0.8m resolution reconnaissance satellite (Project Göktürk-1) for use by the Turkish Armed Forces and a 2m resolution reconnaissance satellite (Project Göktürk-2) for use by the National Intelligence Organization. The production of Göktürk-2 is completed by the Turkish Aerospace Industries, while Göktürk-1 is still in the production stage. Some electro-optical parts that are required for the Göktürk-1 (0.8m resolution) satellite were beyond TAI's technological know-how, thus a foreign partner was sought. The official bidders for the project were EADS Astrium (U.K.), OHB-System (Germany) and Telespazio (Italy); and the contract was won by Telespazio of Italy.

    Göktürk-2 was launched from Jiuquan Launch Area 4 / SLS-2 in China by a Long March 2D space launch vehicle at 16:12:52 UTC on December 18, 2012. It was placed into a low Earth orbit of 686 km (426 mi) at 16:26 UTC. The first signal from Göktürk-2 was received at 17:39 UTC by the Tromsø Satellite Station, northern Norway.

    In 2013 Turkey approved the construction by ROKETSAN of its first satellite launching center, initially for low earth orbit satellites.

    In 2015, Ukraine and Turkey agreed on space program which worth billions of dollars.


  • Headquarters, Ankara
  • Chief of the Turkish General Staff: General Hulusi Akar Commander of the Turkish Air Force: General Abidin Ünal
  • 1st Tactical Air Force Command, Eskişehir
  • 1st Main Jet Base Group Command, Eskişehir
  • F-4E/2020 Terminator
  • F-4E/TM Phantom II
  • RF-4E/TM Phantom II
  • CN-235M-100 & AS-532 Cougar Mk.1
  • 3rd Main Jet Base Group Command, Konya
  • F-16C/D Fighting Falcon
  • F-4E 2020 Terminator
  • F-5 Freedom Fighter A/B 2000
  • B-737-700 AEW&C MESA
  • AS-532 Cougar Mk.1
  • 4th Main Jet Base Group Command, Akıncı, Ankara
  • F-16C/D Fighting Falcon
  • 6th Main Jet Base Group Command, Bandırma
  • F-16C/D Fighting Falcon
  • AS-532 Cougar Mk.1
  • 9th Main Jet Base Group Command, Balıkesir
  • F-16C/D Fighting Falcon
  • AS-532 Cougar Mk.1
  • 15th Missile Base Group Command, İstanbul
  • Other Air Bases, Akhisar, Dalaman, Afyon, Çorlu
  • 2nd Tactical Air Force Commands, Diyarbakır
  • 5th Main Jet Base Group Command, Merzifon, Amasya
  • F-16C/D Fighting Falcon
  • AS-532 Cougar Mk.1
  • 7th Main Jet Base Group Command, Erhaç, Malatya
  • F-4E 2020 Terminator
  • F-4E Phantom II
  • AS-532 Cougar Mk.1
  • 8th Main Jet Base Group Command, Diyarbakır
  • F-16C/D Fighting Falcon
  • CN-235M-100 & AS-532 Cougar Mk.1
  • Unmanned aerial vehicle Base Group Command, Batman
  • Anka
  • Heron
  • Harpy
  • 10th Tanker Base Command, Adana
  • KC-135R Stratotanker
  • Other Air Bases, Batman, Muş, Ağrı, Sivas, Erzurum
  • Air Force Staff Division Command
  • 11th Air Transportation Main Base Command, Etimesgut, Ankara
  • CASA CN-235
  • Cessna Citation|Cessna Citation VII
  • Cessna Citation|Cessna Citation II (CE-550)
  • Gulfstream IV-SP
  • 3 CASA CN-235 (T) ambulance aircraft
  • 12th Air Transportation Main Base Command, Erkilet, Kayseri
  • C-130 Hercules
  • C-160 Transall
  • CASA CN-235 (T)
  • Air Training Command, Gaziemir, İzmir
  • 2nd Main Jet Base Group Command, Çiğli, İzmir
  • T-38A Talon (Tekamül Eğitim Filosu)
  • KT-1, T-37B/C Tweet (Temel Eğitim Filosu-T-37B/C)
  • SF-260D (Başlangıç Eğitim Filosu)
  • CN-235M-100 & UH-1H Iroquois
  • Air Force Academy Command
  • Air Corps Schools and Technical Training Center Command
  • Air Language School and Airmen Training Brigade Command, Gaziemir, İzmir
  • Air Logistics Command Etimesgut, Ankara
  • 1st Air Supply and Maintenance Center Command, Eskişehir
  • 2nd Air Supply and Maintenance Center Command, Kayseri
  • 3rd Air Supply and Maintenance Center Command, Ankara
  • Air Museum Command, İstanbul
  • Squadrons

    The above commands consist of:

  • 19 Combat squadrons
  • 1 Reconnaissance squadron
  • 6 Training squadrons
  • 6 Transportation squadrons
  • 1 Tanker squadron
  • 8 Surface-to-air missile (SAM) squadrons
  • Insignia

  • OF3, OF2, & OR2 translate to "Head of 1000", "Head of 100", and "Head of 10" respectively.
  • Future of the Turkish Air Force

    On July 11, 2002 Turkey became a Level 3 partner of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) development program, and on January 25, 2007, Turkey officially joined the production phase of the JSF program, agreeing to initially purchase 116 F-35A Lightning II aircraft.

    Turkey also has a national fifth generation fighter aircraft project named the TAI TFX.

    On 28 March 2013, the Turkish Secretary of the Defence Industry of the Ministry of National Defence of Turkey Murat Bayar announced intentions to replace the F-16 fighter with domestically produced fighters by 2023.

    Havelsan of Turkey and Boeing of the United States are in the process of developing a next generation, high-altitude ballistic missile defence shield. It is envisaged that the system will be used by the U.S., Turkey and other NATO member states.


    Turkish Air Force Wikipedia

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