Turkiye’s Next-Generation Kaan Fighter Completes Maiden Flight

Share on

ANKARA:Turkiye has attained a momentous occasion with the country’s first indigenously built combat aircraft completing its maiden flight on February 21 in Akinci air base near Ankara. Named the Turkish Fighter Kaan (TF), the stealth multirole fighter is produced by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) as part of the TF-X combat aircraft development programme which the nation launched in 2016. The programme’s objective was to produce a fifth-generation combat aircraft that fulfils Turkish Air Force requirements beyond the 2030s with the force’s current fleet of F-16 fighters set to retire. TAI signed a USD125 million agreement with Britain’s BAE Systems to jointly develop the fighter in 2017.

According to a social media post by TAI’s CEO, Temel Kotil, the inaugural flight lasted 13 minutes and reached speeds of 230 knots and an altitude of 8,000 feet. Powered by a pair of General Electric F110-GE-129 turbofan engines commonly found on fourth-generation Lockheed Martin F-16s, this pairing is expected to be present only in early production units while another Turkish defence firm is currently developing their own turbofan engine specifically for the Kaan to be manufactured by TUSAS Engine Industries (TEI). Kotil said, “TEI is collaborating with firms in Ukraine. We hope the national engine will be ready for the aircraft delivery process,”

Kotil further added that the Kaan is a fully locally-made aircraft, with exception of the engine and ejection seats. “This is the most complex engineering device Turks have ever made.” Defence Industries Directorate (SSB) chief Haluk Gorgun said that an initial batch of 20 Kaan fighters is expected to be delivered to the TAF by 2028. shp/adj/dl (Pix:Turkish Aerospace Industries/TUSAS)