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“Turkey’s Fifth-Gen Fighter Jet ‘KAAN’ Superior to America’s F-35”

"This fighter jet (KAAN) is superior to the F-35. The F-35 can carry six tons of armaments, whereas the KAAN is capable of carrying ten tons," stated Temel Kotil, CEO of Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — Turkey’s fifth-generation fighter jet, “KAAN,” currently under development, is touted as superior to the American-made F-35, according to Temel Kotil, CEO of Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).

 TAI is the lead contractor in the development of this advanced fighter.

 Kotil states that the KAAN fighter outperforms the F-35, notably in its payload capacity, carrying up to ten tons of weaponry compared to the F-35’s six tons.

Additionally, the KAAN is equipped with two engines, enhancing its operational capabilities, whereas the F-35 features only one engine.

Kotil also mentioned that by 2028-2029, the KAAN will be outfitted with engines produced domestically, marking a significant step in Turkey’s move towards self-sufficiency in defense technology.



“The KAAN fighter jet must be built entirely with local expertise to ensure our national survival,” stated Temel Kotil, emphasizing that Turkey must not depend on any other country for critical technology.

 According to Kotil, the dual-engine configuration of the KAAN provides more power, allowing for greater radar range and coverage compared to the single-engine F-35.

He also mentioned that the KAAN, which has already completed two test flights, is capable of competing with all existing fighter jets on the market.

To date, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has invested approximately $2 billion in the development of the KAAN.

 “TAI engineers will continue to develop the KAAN fighter and subsequent aircraft,” Kotil added, noting that the first batch of 20 KAAN jets will be delivered to the Turkish Air Force starting in 2028.



Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) plans to deliver a significant number of its fifth-generation KAAN fighter jets between 2030 and 2032, with the total expected to exceed 100 units for the Turkish Air Force, according to Kotil.

 “Hundreds of KAAN fighters will enter the inventory,” Kotil stated.

 The maiden flight of the KAAN took place on February 21, positioning Turkey among a select group of nations capable of independently developing fifth-generation fighter aircraft.

 The KAAN joins other fifth-generation jets currently on the market, such as the American F-22 Raptor and F-35, China’s J-20 Mighty Dragon and J-31, and Russia’s Su-57 Felon.

The second flight of Turkey’s fifth-generation KAAN fighter jet occurred last Monday morning, with the aircraft airborne for 14 minutes at an altitude of 10,000 feet and a speed of 230 knots, according to a statement from the country’s Defense Industry Agency (SSB).

Turkey, a NATO member, launched the development project for the KAAN fighter in 2016.



Ankara intensified efforts to develop its own fifth-generation fighter following its removal from the F-35 program due to its insistence on purchasing the Russian-made S-400 “Triumf” air defense system.

As a development partner in the F-35 program, Turkey had initially agreed to acquire 100 F-35 jets, but its participation was terminated following its decision to proceed with the purchase of the S-400 system from Russia.

Previously, the KAAN was known as TF-X or Milli Muharip Ucak (National Combat Aircraft – MMU).

Nearly 100 percent of Turkey’s fifth-generation fighter jet has been developed by the nation’s own defense industry, with the exception of certain components such as the ejection seat, engine, and joystick.

These foreign-made components will be replaced with locally manufactured parts as the development of the aircraft progresses into more advanced phases.

 Currently, during the flight testing phase, all KAAN prototype aircraft are equipped with GE’s F110 engines.



These will eventually be fully substituted with domestically developed turbofan engines by TEI (TUSAS Engine Industries).

 TEI, a joint venture between Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and General Electric Aerospace (GE Aerospace), has announced that the domestically produced engines intended for the KAAN are nearing completion.

The KAAN fifth-generation fighter jet is set to replace over 200 F-16 fighter jets currently in service with the Turkish Air Force. — DSA