What is KAAN? Turkey's Indigenous Combat Aircraft Completes its Maiden Flight

The flight, which lasted 13 minutes, showcased the capabilities of Turkish Aerospace Industries

In a historic moment for Turkey's aerospace industry, the nation's first domestically produced combat aircraft, named Kaan, successfully completed its maiden flight at the Akinci air base near Ankara. The flight, which lasted 13 minutes, showcased the capabilities of Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and marked a significant step forward in Turkey's pursuit of advanced military technologies.

Turkey's first indigenous combat aircraft Kaan completes its maiden flight successfully

Temel Kotil, CEO of TAI, announced the successful flight via Twitter, revealing that the Kaan achieved a speed of 230 knots and reached an altitude of 8,000 feet. This achievement underscores Turkey's progress in developing its own advanced military capabilities and signifies a major milestone in the country's combat aircraft program, which commenced in December 2010.

The Kaan, with a wingspan of approximately 46 feet and a length of 69 feet, is equipped with two engines initially powered by General Electric-made F110-GE-129 turbofan engines. However, Turkey is actively pursuing the development of an indigenous turbofan engine for the Kaan through local company TRMotor, showcasing the nation's commitment to technological self-reliance.

Designed to meet the evolving requirements of the Turkish Air Force, the Kaan incorporates key features expected of a fifth-generation aircraft, including low observability, internal weapons bays, sensor fusion, advanced data links, and communication systems. These advanced capabilities ensure the aircraft's relevance and effectiveness well into the future, with plans for it to remain in service until the 2070s.

The successful maiden flight of the Kaan comes after years of meticulous planning and development under the combat aircraft program, which saw the signing of a conceptual design contract in August 2011 followed by a development contract in August 2016. The program aims to replace Turkey's aging F-16 fleet with a cutting-edge fifth-generation combat aircraft, positioning the nation as a key player in the global defense arena.

Looking ahead, TAI aims to begin initial deliveries of the Kaan in 2028, with production ramping up thereafter to reach a rate of two jets per month by 2029, totaling 24 jets annually. To support this production scale, the government has procured 10 F110 engines for the manufacturing of additional prototypes, highlighting Turkey's commitment to advancing its aerospace capabilities.

The successful maiden flight of the Kaan has garnered international attention, with the Ukrainian ambassador to Turkey expressing interest in the aircraft during a recent TV interview. This recognition underscores Turkey's growing influence in the global defense industry and its ability to develop advanced military technologies independently.

As Turkey continues to invest in its aerospace and defense sectors, the Kaan is poised to play a pivotal role in the nation's defense strategy, showcasing Turkey's capabilities as a leading manufacturer of advanced combat aircraft and solidifying its position as a key player in the global defense landscape.