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A social media post on Twitter handle “X” has sparked controversy by claiming that the first flight of the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) TF-X KAAN fighter jet, known as GTU-0, took off without landing gear covers. The post further alleges that the KAAN lacks landing gear doors and has fixed landing gear, suggesting it was never intended to fly.

However, TAI and official sources have refuted these claims. They clarify that GTU-0, unveiled in March 2023, is a technology demonstrator, lacking operational systems and not representative of the final production aircraft. Its first taxi trial, not a flight, occurred on March 17th at low speeds. Usually landing gear deployed throughout the flight is customary on first flights.

The actual first flight is expected from the second prototype (P1) in 2025. This prototype will be closer to the production configuration and will undergo comprehensive testing across its entire flight envelope. A third prototype is planned for 2026.

Experts highlight the importance of differentiating between technology demonstrators and production aircraft. Demonstrators are often used for specific tests and may not have all the features of a final product. Attributing flight characteristics or functionalities based on such prototypes can be misleading.

This incident underscores the need for responsible social media use and the importance of verifying information before sharing it, especially regarding sensitive topics like defense technology. It’s crucial to rely on official sources and credible media reports to avoid spreading misinformation.