KAAN, Turky's fifth-generation jet performs maiden flight

By Willie Bodenstein

Kaan, Turky's fifth-generation fighter jet produced by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) on Wednesday 21 February successfully conducted its first flight in the skies over the capital Ankara. This historic flight marks an important milestone in one of the country's premiere defence projects. The maiden flight was originally planned for 2025, but has been rescheduled for the end of 2023.

The TAI Kaan, is a stealthy, twin-engine, all-weather air superiority fighter set to replace the Turkish Air Force's F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft. The jet elevates Türkiye into the league of few nations capable of developing fifth-generation aircraft.

Spanning 21 meters in length with a wingspan of 14 meters, KAAN underwent a comprehensive post-production testing phase, including ejection seat tests, landing gear deployment trials, fuel assessments and engine ignition tests.

Featuring a special paint and design aimed at reducing radar visibility, Kaan boasts a fuselage equipped with internal stations and cutting-edge technologies, enabling it to carry a total of eight medium and long-range missiles.

The aircraft incorporates an electronic warfare system and a 360-degree electro-optical surveillance system developed by ASELSAN, one of the top defence firms in the country.

With high air combat range and supersonic strategic attack capabilities, the aircraft is armed with domestically produced smart munitions for both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. It aims to replace the F-16 in the Air Forces Command's inventory, slated for phase-out beginning in the 2030s.

In May 2023, TAI CEO Temel Kotil said the company expects to deliver twenty Block 10 aircraft to the Turkish Air Force in 2028, then two aircraft per month by 2029, generating $2.4 billion in annual revenues for TAI. Kotil also warned that the price tag of the aircraft may surpass his 2021 promise of $100 million per unit.

Test Flight and Development Center Airshow

Aviation Economy

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