TechTurkey's own 5th-gen fighter KAAN deferred to take-off: Will it fill the F-16 void?

Turkey's own 5th‑gen fighter KAAN deferred to take-off: Will it fill the F‑16 void?

TAI KAAN airplane
TAI KAAN airplane
Images source: © Dimir, Lic. CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikipedia Commons
6:57 AM EST, December 29, 2023

According to Turkish media, the suspension is not substantial. The aircraft is scheduled to fly within the upcoming weeks. However, it must undergo ground tests and trial taxiing beforehand.

These are the final tests in a long list that assess the new machine's flight readiness. According to Turkish sources, KAAN has passed various engine, ejector seat, avionics, and control system examinations.

KAAN - A Turkish 5th generation aircraft

KAAN is a twin-engine 5th generation aircraft constructed using stealth technology. The reasonably large machine is referred to by its developers as a multitasking aircraft and an air-dominance fighter, considering its weight and dimensions.

Earlier, before Turkey was ousted from the F-35 program, it was speculated that in the future, the KAAN aircraft would replace the F-16 and, along with the F-35, serve as the foundation of the Turkish air forces.

TAI KAAN Airplane
TAI KAAN Airplane© The text "TAI" appears to be an acronym or a proper name, which should not be translated as per your instructions.

As Turkey has lost the opportunity to procure the F-35, KAAN is presented as a substitute for American machines. This option might be viable for countries with restricted access to American technologies for various reasons.

Technical Data of KAAN Aircraft

The Turkish aircraft is 62 feet long, has a 39-foot wingspan, and weighs around 59,525 pounds in take-off configuration (for comparison, an F-16 weighs 35,274 pounds). The aircraft is projected to achieve speeds close to Mach 2 and offer a range of over 621 miles.

The machine resembles the American F-22 Raptor and has an AESA radar. This radar's roles include target detection and involvement in electronic warfare. The aircraft also has an IRST sensor, allowing for passive detection of other aircraft from several dozen kilometers away.

A Turkish aircraft armed with Turkish weaponry

KAAN is slated to be integrated with a diverse range of weapons, primarily missiles developed by Turkey as part of the GÖKTUĞ program. This initiative involves the independent manufacture of air-to-air missiles of four types - from short-range heat-seeking missiles to beyond-visual-range missiles equipped with active radar heads.

The plan is set such that after the post-flight tests of the first unit, the KAAN aircraft will undergo further development work for around a decade. The first serial machines are scheduled to enter service by 2033.

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