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Turkey’s 5th-generation fighter jet Kaan makes maiden flight

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Turkey’s fifth-generation fighter jet in development conducted its first ever flight on Wednesday, a milestone for the country to deploy domestically produced war planes.
The jet, known as

Kaan

and developed by

Turkish Aerospace Industries

with help from the UK’s BAE Systems, took off from an airstrip in capital Ankara for a flight that lasted just over 10 minutes, according to state broadcaster TRT.

The flight marks a landmark moment for Turkey, where authorities have made modernizing the country’s aging air force a top priority. That’s gained urgency since the country’s expulsion from the program to procure and support Lockheed Martin Corp.’s advanced F-35 fighter jets in 2019, following Ankara’s acquisition of Russian S-400 air defense missiles.
The project places Turkey in a small group of powers working on fifth-generation aircraft, which means Kaan will eventually have stealth capabilities, advanced avionics and will be able to undertake command roles in battle.

It’s still expected to take several years for Kaan to be operational, with engine procurement emerging as the biggest challenge facing developers. In December, Bloomberg reported that Turkey was looking to manufacture GE Aerospace’s F110 engines locally to supply the initial phase of Kaan.

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