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Turkish Aerospace Industries’ KAAN Fighter Jet Successfully Conducts 2nd Test Flight

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Turkish Aerospace Industries’ KAAN Fighter Jet Successfully Conducts 2nd Test Flight

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Turkish Aerospace Industries' KAAN Fighter Jet Successfully Conducts 2nd Test Flight
Turkish Aerospace Industries' KAAN Fighter Jet Successfully Conducts 2nd Test Flight

The Turkish Aerospace Industries’ KAAN fighter jet recently achieved a significant milestone with its second successful flight test on May 6, 2024. According to the Turkish Defence Industry Agency (SSB), the aircraft demonstrated commendable performance metrics during its 14-minute flight near Ankara. Reaching a speed of 230 knots (426 km/h) and ascending to an altitude of 10,000 feet (3,048 m), the KAAN replicated its initial flight’s velocity while surpassing it in altitude by 2,000 feet, despite extending the flight duration by a minute. SSB President Haluk Görgün lauded the occasion as “another pivotal day in Turkish aviation and defense history,” highlighting the seamless success of the flight and emphasizing the importance of the data gathered for further analysis and preparation for subsequent flights.

The KAAN’s inaugural flight took place on February 21, 2024, following the initiation of production activities in March 2022. Key milestones in its development timeline include engine start-up activities in February 2023 and slow taxi tests in March 2023. Anticipated to exhibit formidable performance capabilities, the KAAN is projected to achieve a maximum cruising speed of Mach 1.8, ascend to a ceiling of 55,000 feet, and sustain g-forces within the range of +9/-3.5 g. Engineered with stealth features, the aircraft is designed to maintain a low radar cross-section (RCS), possess supercruise capability, and internally accommodate weaponry to mitigate its RCS profile. The KAAN prototype currently relies on US-sourced General Electric F110-GE-129 turbofan engines, each delivering a thrust of 131.2 kN in full afterburner mode. Future prototypes are also slated to be powered by F110 engines.

TAI KAAN fifth-generation air superiority fighter jet. (Photo by Turkish Aerospace)
TAI KAAN fifth-generation air superiority fighter jet. (Photo by Turkish Aerospace)

The TAI KAAN also called TF (“Turkish Fighter”, formerly known as TF-X) and MMU (Milli Muharip Uçak, Turkish for ‘National Combat Aircraft), is a stealthy, twin-engine, all-weather air superiority fighter in development by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and sub-contractor BAE Systems. The jet is to replace the Turkish Air Force’s F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft and to be sold to foreign governments. Turkey’s Defence Industry Executive Committee (SSIK) decided to design, develop, and manufacture a national next generation air-superiority fighter which would replace Turkey’s F-16 fleet and operate with other critical assets like the F-35 Lightning II. In 2011, Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM), signed an agreement with TAI for the conceptual development of basic capabilities. The aircraft was officially named KAAN on May 1, 2023

The TAI KAAN achieves a top speed exceeding Mach 2 and soars to a service ceiling of 55,000 feet. Handling this speed demon at full throttle means managing a weight of approximately 27,215 kg. The KAAN sets itself apart with advanced avionics. It boasts a package that includes an AESA radar, top-of-the-line electronic warfare systems. KAAN has also a suite of sensor and communication systems. KAAN will be capable of air-to-air combat with next-generation weapons and precision strikes from internal weapon mounts at supersonic speed, and will provide increased combat power with AI and neural network support. Additionally, there is the possibility that developers might include an internal gun to maintain stealthiness, designers expect the jet to carry its weapon load inside internal bays. The design does accommodate external hardpoints as an option for additional weapons or fuel tanks.

TAI KAAN fifth-generation air superiority fighter jet. (Photo by Turkish Aerospace)
TAI KAAN fifth-generation air superiority fighter jet. (Photo by Turkish Aerospace)

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