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TAI executive says 20 Turkish KAAN fighters will be delivered in 2028

TAI executive says 20 Turkish KAAN fighters will be delivered in 2028


KAAN, Turkish fighter jet, successfully completes its second test flight

The second flight of the KAAN national combat aircraft, initiated by the Turkish Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) to meet the combat aircraft needs of the Turkish Air Force Command and developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), was successfully completed. in Ankara, Turkey on May 6, 2024. According to the SSB statement, KAAN remained in the air for 14 minutes, reaching an altitude of 10 thousand feet and a speed of 230 knots. (Photo by TUR Defense Industries Presidency/Anadolu via Getty Images)

BEIRUT Just a week after the second test flight of the Turkish-produced KAAN fighter, the general director of Turkish Aerospace Industries announced that the company plans to deliver 20 aircraft by 2028 and made big claims about its capabilities.

“This plane is better than the F-35,” Temel Kotil said at an event in Ankara. according to Turkiye newspaper. “The F-35 carries six tons; this one carries 10 tons of ammunition. It has two engines compared to the single engine of the F-35. Having two engines means more energy and radars illuminating a greater distance.

Such claims are obviously difficult to prove and have many nationalist underpinnings. Turkey was part of the F-35 aircraft program led by Lockheed Martin and Turkish companies produced parts of the plane, but in 2019 the United States suspended Turkey's participation in Ankara's purchase of the planes. Russian S-400 air defense systems, much to Erdogan's anger. government.

The exclusion of the F-35 led to a focus on the development and production of the KAAN model, which successfully completed its maiden flight in February 2024.

“We will deliver 20 KAAN aircraft in 2028. We will deliver many more between 2030 and 2033, and the Turkish fleet will include hundreds of KAAN aircraft,” Kotil was quoted as saying. He added that TAI also manufactures the engine and hopes to fly the aircraft with local engines by 2028-2029.

Can Kasapoglu, a Turkish defense expert and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, told Breaking Defense earlier this year that KAAN's design philosophy has evolved over time.

KAAN, formerly TF-X, was once planned to be an air superiority asset. It is now becoming a multirole aircraft, Kasapolu said.

The challenge facing Turkey in its national defense efforts is cost. Even countries like the United States and China are seeking defense exports to help cover unit costs, which is especially vital for a country facing a rate of monetary inflation like Turkey.

For KAAN, Kasapolu said, Turkey will need to look for export opportunities to prevent the unit cost from soaring. One of the first adapters, at least on paper, has already raised its hand: in July 2023, during a national defense exhibition, Azerbaijan joined Turkey in its fifth fighter jet program generation, an approach described by Erdogan as a new sign of solidarity between the two countries. the two countries. (Turkey has identified Pakistan as another potential partner.

“Producing all systems is not financially feasible. As Turkey seeks to make its defense industry sustainable through exports, international cooperation offers another avenue to maintain this growth. However, engaging in international cooperation comes at the expense of autarky, and this trade-off can present very difficult choices,” Publication of the IISS report earlier this month, argued.




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