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Turkey’s 5th generation fighter jet Kaan makes maiden flight: report

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Turkey’s first national combat aircraft, the Kaan, completed its first flight on Wednesday, part of the country’s efforts to upgrade its air force, Defense News reported.

NATO member Turkey launched its TF-X project to produce a national combat aircraft in 2016. Turkish aerospace firm TAI signed a deal with Britain’s BAE Systems worth $125 million in 2017 to develop the next-generation fighter jet.

TAI shared a video showing a KAAN fighter jet taking off and then returning to Akıncı Airbase near Ankara.

TAI CEO Temel Kotil tweeted that Kaan’s first flight took 13 minutes, adding that the aircraft registered a speed of 230 knots and reached an altitude of 8,000 feet.

 

The program aims to field a fifth-generation combat aircraft to meet Turkish Air Force requirements beyond the 2030s, replacing the country’s F-16 fleet.

With a wingspan of about 46 feet and length of 69 feet, the Kaan is equipped with two engines. The prototype is powered by two General Electric-made F110-GE-129 turbofan engines, which are to be used in early production batches. Turkey is now working on the development of an indigenous turbofan engine for the Kaan by local company TRMotor.

The fighter program is expected to incorporate most of the characteristics of a standard fifth-generation aircraft, such as low observability, internal weapons bays, sensor fusion, advanced data links and communications systems. The aircraft is expected to be in service until the 2070s.

The current contract covers the initial four years of the program, which will be concluded with the completion of the preliminary design phase. Until then, further testing and technology maturation activities are on the schedule.

In December 2022 the head of TAI said the initial delivery of the Kaan was scheduled for 2028. After 2029, the aim is to produce two jets per month, 24 jets per year in total.

The jet that flew Wednesday was a ground test unit. Now the manufacturer will make five more prototypes, for which the government bought 10 F110 engines.

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