Turkey’s fifth-generation fighter jet, previously known as TF-X, has officially received the name KAAN.
The name was revealed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a ceremony on May 1, 2023. Kaan is a Turkic male name meaning “ruler” or “King of Kings”.
The indigenous TF-X KAAN fighter jet, developed by the state-owned manufacturer Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), is destined to replace the F-16 within the Turkish Air Force.
What is the TF-X KAAN fighter jet?
Development of the TF-X began in 2010 before experiencing assorted interruptions and delays. However, the process accelerated significantly in 2019 after Turkey was excluded from the F-35 program.
Ankara’s participation in the F-35 program was canceled on July 18, 2019, following a dispute between Turkey and the United States regarding the procurement of the Russian S-400 missile system. Since then, the Turkish Air Force has been looking for alternatives to modernize its fighter fleet.
According to TAI and the Turkish Air Force, KAAN will be a fifth-generation fighter jet featuring a low-observability design with the ability to carry weapons both inside and outside the fuselage, an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system, supercruise, and advanced data link capabilities.
The first flight of the TAI TF-X KAAN is expected to take place in 2023.