Thousands came to see live the KAAN – the Turkish 5th-gen fighter

On May 1, International Labor Day, thousands of Turks flocked to the facilities of the Turkish Aerospace Industry [TUKAS] to see the latest pride of Turkish defense live for the first time. TAI TF-X fighter was presented together with the new name it will bear – The KAAN.

Thousands came to see live the KAAN - the Turkish 5th-gen fighter
Video screenshot

“Future Century Promotion Program” was the event that brought together those who wanted to see the latest in the developments of the Turkish aviation industry. The guests were also presented with the Hurjet light attack and training helicopter, the Anka-3 drones, the Atak-II helicopter, and the upgraded F-16 Ozgur.

The culmination was KAAN. The aircraft was presented last, and before it, the light training aircraft Hurjet paraded in front of the crowd of thousands. KAAN came on its own. A camera drone circled it to capture the best shots. KAAN stopped at the central location and officials put stoppers on its wheels. From the right to the cockpit, the inscription KAAN decorated the plane.

First tests recalls that on March 17, Turkey took the twin-engine Turkish fighter out of the hangars for the first time. Then on the runway, early in the morning, the aircraft performed its first taxiing tests. According to publications in the Turkish press, KAAN should perform its first flight test by the end of 2023. This is quite a step forward for the Turkish industry and good news for the local defense, as Ankara originally planned for the first flight test not until 2026.

Turkish TAI TF-X fighter jet is on the runway for taxiing tests
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According to local sources, KAAN will have three prototypes – Block 0, Block 1, and Block 2. They will be developed gradually over the years and each new Block will increase the level of tests. Turkey plans to have the first 10 combat aircraft of the fifth generation KAAN in the inventory of its Air Force in 2029.

The first colors of KAAN are in the gray range, as we announced back in mid-March. According to publications in the Turkish media, the KAAN will become an aerial platform that will cooperate with unmanned aerial vehicles. It is known that over the past ten years, Turkey has become one of the world leaders in the design and production of combat drones of various functionality – from reconnaissance to attack and even stealth fighters.

KAAN will be able to conduct air-to-air combat with weapons of a new generation, they write in Turkey. “Air-to-air combat with new-generation weapons will be able to perform precision strikes from internal weapon slots at supersonic speeds. It will provide increased combat power with artificial intelligence and neural network support.”

The others on the market

Within the scope of KAAN, it is ensured that the world’s largest test centers such as Lightning Test Facility, Radar Cross Section Facility, and Win Tunnel Facility are introduced in the country. Also, the KAAN will pave the way for increased test data processing capabilities.

Watch: KF-21 Boramae fighter armed with 4 METEORs flew for the first time
Photo credit: YouTube

There are currently four fifth-generation fighters in the world. The American F-22 and F-35 lead the column with the most produced and, accordingly, the most operationally ready worldwide. They are followed by the Chinese J-20 fighter, which according to Chinese sources has reached the number of 200 units produced. In last place is the Russian Su-57, which in the next two years should form a fleet of 44 units.

South Korea has joined this elite group. The KF-21 Boramae is undergoing extensive flight tests that check not only the flight characteristics but also the avionics. It is expected that in the coming years, if all goes well with the tests, South Korea and Indonesia [participants in the Boramae program] will become the next to acquire the fifth-generation fighter.

The Americans are the most technologically advanced in this field, although China is seriously catching up. What will be the technological capabilities of the Turkish KAAN, and what avionics and armament will it use – it remains to be seen in the future.


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