Turkey Develops 5th-Gen Stealth Fighter Despite US Rejection

News Desk4 months ago
Turkey Develops 5th-Gen Stealth Fighter Despite US Rejection

Turkey has now become the fourth nation globally to independently produce fifth-generation fighter aircraft, with the successful inaugural flight of its domestically built fighter jet, KAAN.

Joining the ranks of the USA, Russia, and China, Turkey’s achievement in manufacturing fifth-generation fighter jets has been propelled by advancements in acquiring S-400 air defense systems from Russia.

Turkey’s expulsion from the US-led F-35 program in 2019 further fueled its pursuit of indigenous capabilities. In a recent announcement, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) declared the triumphant first flight of KAAN.

A video shared on social media captures the aircraft taking off, flying, and landing at Akinci Air Base. Temel Kotil, CEO of Turkish Aerospace Industries, disclosed that the aircraft soared to an impressive altitude of 8,000 feet during its 13-minute flight.

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US sanctions

On Wednesday, Turkey marked a significant milestone in its quest to bolster its air force with the maiden flight of its inaugural national combat aircraft, KAAN.

A NATO member, Turkey initiated its TF-X project in 2016 to develop a homegrown combat aircraft. In 2017, Turkish aerospace company TUSAS entered a $125 million agreement with Britain’s BAE Systems to spearhead the development of the next-generation fighter jet.

A video released by TUSAS showcased the KAAN fifth-generation fighter jet taking off and returning to an air base in northern Ankara.

Haluk Gorgun, head of Turkey’s Defence Industries Directorate (SSB), expressed pride in the achievement, stating on the social media platform X, “With KAAN, our country will not only have a fifth-generation fighter jet, but also technologies that few countries in the world possess.”

Initially, the new fighter jet will be equipped with two General Electric F-110 engines, also utilized in fourth-generation Lockheed Martin F-16 jets. Despite its fifth-generation status, KAAN boasts stealth capabilities.

Gorgun revealed Turkey’s ambition to employ domestically manufactured engines for KAAN in mass production, slated to commence in 2028.

Recently, Turkey finalized a deal to acquire 40 F-16 fighter jets and 79 modernization kits for its existing F-16s from the United States, following a protracted delay.

In December 2020, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Turkey’s defense industry, a NATO member, over its procurement of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system. Subsequently, Ankara was expelled from the F-35 stealth fighter jet program, where it played roles as both manufacturer and buyer.

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