Azerbaijani aces to fly on 5th-gen KAAN, next are Pakistanis

Turkey recently signed a pact with Azerbaijan to progress their fifth-generation fighter jet program. A top Turkish official suggested Pakistan may also join the initiative. The agreement occurred at the International Defense Industry Fair, IDEF 2023, in Istanbul. 

F-35 is cheaper than the KAAN, which will become more expensive
Photo credit: DIA

Pakistan’s potential involvement could accelerate the development of the ambitious KAAN project and reduce Turkey’s risks. The project requires extensive expertise and resources, and international collaboration could help share the financial burden and improve the aircraft’s efficiency. 

While Turkey has an ambitious timeline for the fighter jet, experts believe it could take a decade or longer to be fully operational. The first prototype of KAAN was assembled in April 2022 and unveiled in January 2023, with its first engine test carried out in February 2023. 

Financial investment

Support from participating countries is essential, especially during KAAN’s development phase. Azerbaijan’s involvement could include financial investment and industrial collaboration. If Pakistan joins, it can contribute its resources, technology, and manufacturing expertise. 

However, Pakistan’s ties with China could present a potential risk for the KAAN project. It might discourage Western producers from supplying parts due to security concerns. 

The KAAN project is a key aspect of Turkey’s goal to reduce its dependence on foreign fighters. Despite this, the KAAN fighter is unlikely to alter Turkey’s procurement plans soon. It is not expected to be combat-ready until at least the mid-2030s and the cost could be substantial. 

Improving the existing F-16 fleet and procuring additional aircraft will remain viable options until the KAAN is operational. Depending on various factors, Turkey might still maintain a diverse fleet of aircraft even when KAAN becomes operational.

What we know about KAAN fighter

KAAN 5th-gen fighter is a next-generation fighter aircraft developed by Turkey’s state-owned defense company, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). The fighter is designed to be a multirole aircraft capable of conducting air-to-air, air-to-ground, and electronic warfare missions.

F-35 is cheaper than the KAAN, which will become more expensive
Photo credit: DIA

The KAAN fighter has a length of 22 meters, a wingspan of 14 meters, and a height of 6 meters. It has a maximum takeoff weight of 30,000 kg and can reach a maximum speed of Mach 2. The fighter is powered by two engines, each capable of producing up to 27,000 pounds of thrust.

The KAAN 5th-gen fighter is equipped with a variety of armaments, including air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, and bombs. It also has a 25mm cannon mounted on the underside of the fuselage. The fighter’s advanced avionics system includes a radar system, an electronic warfare suite, and a helmet-mounted display system for the pilot.

Importance of a 5th-gen fighter for Azerbaijan and Pakistan

Fifth-generation fighter jets are the most advanced aircraft in the world, incorporating cutting-edge technology and advanced avionics. These aircraft are designed to be stealthy, highly maneuverable, and capable of performing a wide range of missions, including air-to-air combat, air-to-ground strikes, and reconnaissance. By acquiring these aircraft, Azerbaijan and Pakistan will significantly enhance their air capabilities and be better equipped to defend their airspace against potential threats.

The fifth-generation fighter jets are equipped with advanced sensors and avionics that provide pilots with unparalleled situational awareness. This allows them to detect and engage enemy aircraft from long ranges while remaining undetected. Additionally, these aircraft are designed to be highly maneuverable, allowing pilots to outmaneuver and evade enemy missiles and aircraft. This makes them highly effective in air-to-air combat scenarios, which is critical for defending airspace.

Another key advantage of fifth-generation fighter jets is their ability to perform a wide range of missions. These aircraft are not only capable of engaging enemy aircraft but also of striking ground targets with precision-guided munitions. They can also perform reconnaissance missions, gathering critical intelligence on enemy positions and movements. This versatility makes them a valuable asset for any air force, and will significantly enhance the capabilities of Azerbaijan and Pakistan.

Overall, the acquisition of fifth-generation fighter jets will be a game-changer for Azerbaijan and Pakistan. These aircraft will provide these countries with a significant advantage over potential adversaries, allowing them to defend their airspace more effectively and project power beyond their borders. With their advanced technology and capabilities, fifth-generation fighter jets are the future of air warfare, and Azerbaijan and Pakistan are positioning themselves at the forefront of this trend.


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