Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) plans to fly the 5th-generation fighter jet "KAAN" on December 27, five years ahead of schedule.
TAI General Manager Temel Kotil confirmed this on a television program. He said KAAN was originally scheduled to fly with a Turkish engine in 2028, but the process ended faster than they expected.
Previously known as the TF-X, the KAAN jet has been created with an aim to replace the F-16 aircraft in the inventory of the Air Forces Command, which is planned to be phased out starting in the 2030s. The project was launched in 2016.
The first KAAN jet left the hangar in March 2023. Three prototypes will be produced before 2026.
The Block-10 configuration, which will be delivered to the Air Force Command, is expected to be developed until 2029. Ten TF-X Block-1 fighter jets produced in Phase-2 will be delivered to the Turkish Air Force between 2030-2033. However, this date announced by the Turkish Air Force was revised as 2028 by TAI.
The 21m jet is able to reach a maximum speed of 1.8 Mach thanks to its twin engines, which can produce 13,000kg thrust each.
KAAN will provide the opportunity to strategically attack air-to-air and air-to-ground targets. It has a completely domestic infrastructure for secure data sharing and the use of smart munitions.
With its high-performance radar, electronic warfare, electro-optics, communication, navigation and identification capability, it will achieve increased combat power with precision and accurate firing from internal weapon slots at high/supersonic speed. It also has automatic target recognition and detection, multiple data fusion and artificial intelligence capabilities.
The project helped Turkey advance in technology areas such as low visibility, internal weapons slots, high maneuverability, increased situational awareness and sensor fusion, all features that are required for a new generation aircraft.