KAAN: Turkey's Next-Gen Fighter Aircraft Prepares for Maiden Flight

, 13:35, 30.12.2023
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Turkey's highly anticipated 5th-generation fighter aircraft, KAAN, poised to replace the F-16 fleet, has faced a brief delay in its inaugural flight, now rescheduled in the coming weeks.

KAAN: Turkeys Next-Gen Fighter Aircraft Prepares for Maiden Flight

New Turkish Kaan fighter. It is expected to be an export hit

KAAN is a Turkish 5th-generation fighter, formerly known as TF-X. Built by the Turkish industry in collaboration with BAE Systems, the aircraft is intended to replace Turkey's F-16 fleet in the future. The first flight of the new plane, initially scheduled for December 27, has been postponed.

The delay is not significant; according to the Turkish website SavunmaSanayiST, the plane is expected to take off in the next few weeks. However, before this happens, it must undergo a series of ground tests and trial taxiing.

This is the last in a series of tests to verify the readiness of the new machine for flight. According to Turkish sources, KAAN has already successfully undergone tests for the engine, ejection seat, avionics, and control system.

KAAN - Turkish 5th Generation Aircraft

KAAN is a 5th-generation twin-engine aircraft built using stealth technology. The relatively large machine is sometimes referred to by its creators as both a multi-role aircraft and, reflecting its weight and dimensions, an air superiority fighter.

Initially, before Turkey was excluded from the F-35 program, it was assumed that the KAAN aircraft would replace the F-16 in the future and, together with the F-35, constitute the backbone of the Turkish Air Force.

Currently, with Turkey losing the opportunity to purchase the F-35, KAAN is presented as an alternative to American machines. The purchase of KAAN may be considered by countries with limited access to American technologies for various reasons.

New Turkish Kaan fighter. It is expected to be an export hit

KAAN Plane - Technical Data

The Turkish plane is 19 meters long, has a span of 12 meters, and weighs approximately 27 tons in the take-off configuration (for comparison, the F-16 weighs 16 tons). The aircraft is expected to reach a speed of Mach 2 and have an operating radius exceeding 1,000 km.

The machine, somewhat reminiscent of the American F-22 Raptor aircraft, is equipped with, among other features, an AESA radar. The radar's task is not only to detect targets but also to engage in electronic warfare. The carried sensors also include an IRST sensor, enabling the passive detection of other aircraft from a distance of several dozen kilometers.

Turkish Plane with Turkish Weapons

KAAN is to be integrated with a wide range of weapons, primarily missiles developed by Turkey under the GÖKTUĞ program. This program aims to independently produce four types of air-to-air missiles, ranging from short-range missiles targeting heat sources to missiles designed to combat targets beyond the range of eyesight, equipped with their own active radar heads.

The plan assumes that after the first flight, further development work on the KAAN aircraft will last about a decade, and the first serial machines will enter service in 2033.


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