Turkey's First Home Built Fighter Jet Needs to Chill Out

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Take a look at this domestically produced Turkish delight the new 5th generation Tal Kaan MMU fighter jet. . It’s maiden flight on February 21st 2024 felt like a bold statement from the Eurasian country stating they didn’t need any of your foreign technology. What we’re observing right now is an increasing wave of domestically designed advanced fighter jets appearing around the world. This is because Countries are pursuing a concept known as military self-sufficiency where you are beholden to no foreign power for your defense. We’ll also learn how Advanced fighter programs are more than just weapons; they are a sign of national pride within your country and a strong symbol of deterrence against your would-be enemies. So What does the Kaan fighter jet’s mission and weapon systems tell us about their greater military strategy? What geopolitical and diplomatic factors lead to its development? I’m your average infantryman chris cappy fire off a foxtrot 2 at the like and subscribe button and lets find out.

Written by: Chris Cappy & Armando Duarte Galán
Edited by: Max

Turkey’s search for independence
First of all let me explain what is at stake here for the Turkish air force and why they desire a 5th gen fighter. You might not know it but since 2015 The Turkish air force has been very busy. They’ve pulled off hundreds of air strikes into Syria and Iraq many of them unilateral and some of them in partnership with the US led coalition against ISIS. This map from airwars.org shows us a view of where the casualties are from these strikes. These attacks have a dual mission, the first was to destroy ISIS and the second was to target Kurdish forces.

With this comes the risk of return fire because one of their 3rd generation F-4 phantom jets was shot down by the Syrian air force. 3 years later a 4th generation Turkish F-16 shot down a Russian Su-24M near their border with Syria that they claimed had violated their air space. In 2023 alone the Turkish air force executed 128 air strikes inside northern Syria. So Considering how active their air force is in the feild it’s clear why from a combat tactical point of view it’s important. We’ll also dive into why it’s important on a political and operational level too later. Safe to say there is a lot riding on the program. To safely deliver ordnance in the modern world that’s lousy with anit-air defense, you need a 5th generation aircraft.

In the realm of military aviation, Turkey’s emergence as a player in indigenous fighter jet development has garnered significant international attention. Headlines covering the Kaan’s maiden flight included words and expressions like “impressive,” “history-shattering”, “a pivotal point”, and “a new titan takes into the skies”. Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) designed the Kaan to reach all modern fighter performance benchmarks which includes: a maximum speed of Mach 1.8 to 2.2, a service ceiling of 55,000 ft, a range of 700 miles on internal fuel, and a tolerance for maneuvers exerting up to 9 Gs. What makes a fighter 5th gen as opposed to 4th gen? Low radar visibility, high agility and the ability to conduct network centric warfare. So far, only three countries have successfully developed a fifth-generation fighter: Russia, China and the US. Among them, only China and the US have managed to manufacture the fighters in significant numbers. So if Turkey becomes the fourth nation to develop a fifth-generation fighter, that’s no small feat.

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