Turkey’s First Domestically-Made Fighter Jet ‘KAAN’ Takes Maiden Flight

Turkey’s first-ever domestically-made fighter jet has completed its maiden flight, bringing it closer to replacing the country’s aging F-16 fleet.

Dubbed “KAAN,” the fifth-generation combat aircraft took to the skies on February 21, staying airborne for 13 minutes and reaching an altitude of 8,000 feet (2,438 meters).

It achieved a speed of 230 knots (426 kilometers/265 miles per hour), according to developer Turkish Aerospace Industries.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was informed of the milestone, saying the country has cleared “a very critical stage” on the way to producing its own fifth-generation warplane.

He also said the aircraft will inspire confidence in allies and strike fear in enemies.

The KAAN Program

Turkey has been prioritizing the development of its own fighter jet since 2010 – an effort fueled by a US decision to expel the nation from the F-35 program after it purchased an air defense system from Russia.

Turkish Aerospace Industries said the KAAN program was introduced to meet the air-to-surface and air-to-air combat requirements of the Turkish Air Force beyond the 2030s.

It is described as a “fully aware warrior” with intelligent and strong combat capabilities, as well as improved survivability and agility.

The new warplane is powered by two General Electric engines also used on fourth-generation F-16 fighter jets.

According to the developer, the KAAN provides air dominance through its increased engagement ranges thanks to its novel weapons payload.

It also boasts augmented lethality with the support of artificial intelligence and neural networks.

“With KAAN, our country will not only have a fifth-generation fighter jet, but also technologies that few countries in the world have,” Turkey’s Defence Industries Directorate head Haluk Gorgun said.

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