Turkey flew the prototype of its indigenous “fifth generation” fighter for the second time on Sunday and it stayed in the air for 14 minutes, beating the first flight of the prototype, which took place Feb. 21, by a minute. “The impending comprehensive flight tests will not only ask questions but will also provide vital responses,” a government statement said.

The KAAN, which looks like the offspring of an F-35 and F-22, will be able to carry a full suite of weapons for air-to-ground, air-to-air and air-to-ship operations. Although it’s billed as a home-grown airplane, it’s mainly a collection of systems bought from foreign companies, including the engines, which are made by GE. Turkey and Rolls-Royce are working on a joint venture to power the planes, but all the prototypes and the first production aircraft will have GE F110 engines.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. They sneak a Chineses J-20 in the video…?? You couldn’t have said it better…offspring of an F-35 and F-22.

    • I too noticed the curiously different aircraft at 0:14–0:19 in this video. It seems to have canards, which the KAAN lacks. A Youtube commenter claims the other aircraft is a Bayraktar Kızılelma uncrewed aircraft. Wikipedia photos of the Kızılelma do seem to show canards, but it is hard to make a clear identification.

  2. More money used in a poor country to kill people and destroy property. That money be used better if left in the pockets of the people who earned it.

    • Turkey is the world’s 17th largest economy and 7th in Europe. So not a poor country. Istanbul is a magnificent city and its new airport is one of the nicest I have been in.

    • So I take it you’d be fine if it were a prosperous country (China?, Canada?, Israel?, US?) that spent that kind of money to “kill people and destroy property”, Kent? Or are you afraid of other countries becoming as jingoistic as you? Helpfully, your myoclonic conclusion telegraphed your real concern: _your_ “hard-earned money” being spent on things you don’t want.

  3. On e of a long line of failed Turkish projects. Highly unlikely to enter production.

  4. It’s one thing to build a flying prototype, the costs of production and support are in another realm. Just ask countries like Canada who tried to build the AVRO fighter.

    If we’re speculating on motives… it’s a shot across the bow to stop slow walking or halting weapon sales from other NATO counties to Turkey, who is investing in military modernization.

    From the NATO perspective, Turkey has operated outside policy and not in line with the rest of the Western alliance’s interests regarding Russia and the mid-East. NATO countries, especially the US, have concerns regarding President Erdoğan.

  5. I am Turkish and certainly not a fan of Erdogan. Having said that, Turkiye has to find her own way. Look at the country’s surroundings. 200 miles to the north, Ukraine-Russia war. Another 200 miles to the east, south-east, now Iran-Israel crisis. South border, Syrian crisis and ISIS. Some 5 million Syrian and Afghan refugees fleed from these conflicts (possibly some Palestinians from Gaza?) trying to survive within the country. Name another country within NATO with such a backdrop. I certainly don’t know whether this KAAN project will ever proceed all the way to the serial production. It is still an enourmous engineering challenge not so many countries thinking to attempt nowadays. On the other hand, I remember, some 30 years ago when Turkish unmanned aerial systems started to fly, they had a similar, suspected future, then. They all seem to earn some respectful status today. Will Kaan ever reach to that level? Time will say…

    • Very well put. oertem. It’s easy to badmouth military spending UNTIL it hits at YOUR back door. Beyond what you said, the current Administration holding back on weaponry for Ukraine and Israel would also be of concern were I in Turkey’s ‘shoes.’ As long as Ukraine is fighting for its survival and seriously keeping Russian adventurism at bay, it’s good for everyone. Same thing with Israel. At some point, all of these conflicts could morph together and become a third world war OR at least a more serious regional conflict. SO … good for Turkey for at least trying. Even here in the US, we spend scads and scads of money on developing weaponry and then don’t follow through on buying it all in sufficient numbers .. often canceling programs well short of full funding. So that’d be another reason for other countries to develop their own weaponry.

      • “the current Administration holding back on weaponry for Ukraine”

        Larry, this is an aviation forum, not a political one, but if you want to get political, at least don’t embarrass yourself by citing the wrong administration. That was the previous administration (he was impeached for that) and your current House Republican Putin caucus and your fav running for re-election after he lost the last one.

        • I usually try to hold off on making statements that smack of politics but in THIS case, it fit the point I was trying to make. My comment IS aimed at the Turkish reasons for developing their own indigenous fighter jet. Further, YOU may want to watch the evening news, John … the President — ON TV — admitted that he is holding back on weaponry for both Countries. My point is that our ‘friends’ will get the point where they don’t trust the US to meet its obligations and that being — likely — the reason Turkey is doing this vs buying something like the F-35. I submit that YOU turned it political; I was merely trying to show why Turkey might have made the move. Nothing more.

        • You made me mad enough to go make sure I had my ducks in a row. I already said that I was NOT making a political statement … merely stating facts which are correct. Turkey is a “Tier 2” Country with respect to weapons development. For it to undertake such a bold developmental move underscores that ‘something’ was driving it.
          With respect to the impeachment of the former President, YOU may want to check YOUR facts:
          He was acquitted AND the issues did not revolve around weaponry or holding back of same. Give it a rest, John.