Türkiye’s defense and aviation sector is expected to experience a historic moment in the upcoming week as the first flight of the domestically developed fifth-generation national combat aircraft, KAAN, is anticipated to take place on December 27.
Together with KAAN’s debut in the sky, Türkiye will join the ranks of countries possessing a fifth-generation fighter jet. Regarded as Türkiye’s most ambitious technology project, the national combat aircraft KAAN was developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).
The fifth-generation aircraft has been developed to replace the F-16 aircraft in the inventory of the Air Forces Command, which are planned to be phased out starting in the 2030s. The project was launched in 2016.
On March 17, the TF-X National Combat Aircraft (MMU) fifth-generation stealth fighter jet emerged from the hangar for the first time and positioned itself on the runway while it was officially given the name “KAAN” by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a ceremony held in TAI headquarters in Ankara’s Kahramankazan district on May 1, 2023.
Over the past couple of months, it has been prepared by Turkish engineers to meet the sky while the initial flight tests were successfully completed in preparation for its first flight mission, according to the latest local media reports.
The 21-meter (69-foot) jet can reach a maximum speed of 1.8 Mach thanks to its twin engines, which can produce 29,000 pounds (13,000 kilograms) thrust each.
KAAN boasts all technologies and features found in fifth-generation warplanes. It will provide the opportunity to strategically attack air-to-air and air-to-ground targets. It has a completely domestic infrastructure for secure data sharing and the use of smart munitions.