Turkey's KAAN Combat Aircraft Completes First Flight

KAAN, the fifth generation fighter jet being domestically developed in Turkey by Turkish Aerospace (TUSAS), takes off for its first flight in an image shared by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey.

The first combat aircraft to be domestically developed in Turkey, the fifth generation KAAN, completed its first flight on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. Several executives and partners of Turkish Aerospace (TUSAS) — the company that is developing the fifth generation fighter jet — shared videos  and images of KAAN's first flight on Wednesday.

According to a post shared by the X account of Temel Kotil, the CEO of Turkish Aerospace, the first flight lasted 13 minutes and reached a speed of "230 knots at an altitude of 8,000 feet." During a two minute video shared by the Turkish Aerospace X account, KAAN is shown taking off and performing some routine maneuvers in-flight before landing.

TUSAS added the first flight update to the KAAN  section of its website, which also provides additional details about the development of the country's first domestically developed fighter jet. The Ministry of Turkish National Defense first launched the fifth generation combat aircraft program in 2010. In August 2016, Turkish Aerospace signed the "indigenous designation and development program" under the "TF-X" project name and has been developing the prototype aircraft that completed its first flight Wednesday in recent years.

Turkey's first domestically developed combat aircraft is 69 feet in length with a height of 20 feet and a wingspan of 46 feet. KAAN also has a service ceiling of 55,000 feet and is capable of flying at a maximum speed of 1.8 Mach, according to TUSAS. The KAAN prototype is also powered by General Electric (GE) F-110 engines, although the head of Turkish Defence Industries Directorate Haluk Gorgun has said in the past that the company will use domestically developed engines when the aircraft ultimately enters its production phase.

"We will bring not only a 5th generation warplane, but also technologies owned by a few countries in the world to our country through KAAN," Gorgun said in a statement posted to his X account. "We will continue to strengthen all our national steel wings, especially KAAN, and develop the fully independent technologies of our skies for the security of our nation and friends."