The Turkish Aerospace Industry Corporation (TUKAS) said that the 5th generation fighter KAAN (former name TF-X) is the newest pride of the country’s defense industry.

Thousands of Turks were present at the production facility to witness the country’s 5th generation fighter, when it was officially launched as KAAN.

Earlier on March 17, Turkey brought its domestic twin-engine stealth fighter out of the hangar for the first time. According to the Turkish press, the KAAN 5th generation fighter is expected to make its first test flight by the end of 2023, this progress is surprising to analysts. This is quite a big step for the Turkish industry and good news for the local defense industry, because Ankara originally planned to make its first test flight in 2026.

The KAAN fighter will have three prototypes – Block 0, Block 1 and Block 2. They will be developed gradually over many years and each new version will have increased levels of testing. Turkey plans to have the first 10 combat aircraft of the fifth generation KAAN in the inventory of its Air Force in 2029.

According to the Turkish media, the KAAN fighter will become an air combat platform capable of combining with unmanned aerial vehicles. Over the past 10 years, Turkey has become one of the world leaders in the design and production of combat UAVs with a variety of functions – from reconnaissance to attack and even stealth UAVs. The Turkish press praised: “Air-to-air combat with new-generation weapons will be able to perform precision strikes from internal weapon slots at supersonic speeds. It will provide increased combat power with artificial intelligence and neural network support.”

The published images show that the fighter does not have a horizontal stabilizer. It will be fitted with twin engines, outward-canted tail fins, modern avionics, and an ejection seat. The fighter, developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries, is planned to replace the Turkish Air Force’s fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons, and for export. The failure of the US F-35 deal further pushed Turkey to become more determined in the domestic TF-X project.

There are currently four active fifth-generation fighters in the world. First, the American F-22 and F-35, the Chinese J-20, and the Russian Su-57. South Korea also joins this elite group, its KF-21 Boramae fighter is undergoing flight tests. It is expected that in the coming years, if all goes well, South Korea and Indonesia will become the next countries to own domestic fifth-generation fighters.

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