Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has commenced the assembly activities for the second and third prototypes of the National Combat Aircraft KAAN, marking progress in the country's ambitious defense project.
The assembly of the second KAAN prototype is slated for completion in the first half of 2024.
The integration of airworthy landing gear and the flight control computer into the first KAAN prototype has been completed by TAI. This aircraft left the hangar for the first time during a ceremony in May 2023. TAI recently declared that the inaugural flight of the first KAAN prototype is scheduled for December 27.
The KAAN, formerly known as TF-X, is designed to replace the existing F-16 aircraft in the Air Forces Command inventory, with plans to phase out the latter starting in the 2030s. The project, initiated in 2016, saw the unveiling of the first KAAN prototype in March 2023, with three prototypes set to be produced by 2026.
The Block-10 configuration, intended for delivery to the Air Force Command, is anticipated to undergo development until 2029. Initially, the Turkish Air Force announced that ten TF-X Block-1 fighter jets from Phase-2 would be delivered between 2030 and 2033. However, TAI revised this date to 2028.
With a length of 21 meters, the KAAN boasts a maximum speed of 1.8 Mach, facilitated by its twin engines generating 13,000kg thrust each. The aircraft is designed to strategically engage both air-to-air and air-to-ground targets, featuring a wholly domestic infrastructure for secure data sharing and the use of smart munitions.
Equipped with high-performance radar, electronic warfare capabilities, electro-optics, communication, navigation, and identification systems, the KAAN promises increased combat power with precise and accurate firing from internal weapon slots at high/supersonic speeds. Additional features include automatic target recognition and detection, multiple data fusion, and artificial intelligence capabilities.