Türkiye’s fifth-generation fighter jet performs maiden flight

Türkiye's fifth-generation indigenous combat aircraft, KAAN, on Feb. 21 successfully conducted its first flight, marking an important milestone as one of the country's premiere defense industry projects.

Produced by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAŞ), the national jet elevates Türkiye into the league of few nations capable of developing fifth-generation aircraft, with its maiden performance in the skies over the capital Ankara.

Spanning 21 meters in length with a wingspan of 14 meters, KAAN underwent a comprehensive post-production testing phase, including ejection seat tests, landing gear deployment trials, fuel assessments and engine ignition tests.

Featuring a special paint and design aimed at reducing radar visibility, Kaan boasts a fuselage equipped with internal stations and cutting-edge technologies, enabling it to carry a total of eight medium and long-range missiles.

The aircraft incorporates an electronic warfare system and a 360-degree electro-optical surveillance system developed by ASELSAN, one of the top defense firms in the country.

With high air combat range and supersonic strategic attack capabilities, the aircraft is armed with domestically produced smart munitions for both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. It aims to replace the F-16 in the Air Forces Command's inventory, slated for phase-out beginning in the 2030s.

The project, initiated in 2016, anticipates a span of 10 years for mass production.

Providing insight into the aircraft, former chief of Military Intelligence, Lieutenant General İsmail Hakkı Pekin, stated that KAAN's mass production would take a decade, but once operational, the Turkish Air Force would emerge as the region's most formidable air power.

The country's air...

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