Turkish F-35 Jets Await Their Ultimate Fate

Turkish Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar has made remarks regarding the latest status of six F-35A Lightning II fighter jets produced by Lockheed Martin destined for Turkiye.

Six F-35A Lightning II fighter jets manufactured by US company Lockheed Martin for the Turkish Air Force Command were not shipped to Turkiye due to the US sanctions after the Turkish authorities decided to go ahead with the S-400 Air Defense Missile System purchase from Russia. Turkish Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar touched upon the latest status of Turkish F-35s in the US.

Emphasizing that a Turkish delegation will visit the United States for the F-35 issue in the coming days, Minister Akar announced that 6 F-35s produced for Turkiye are still being kept in the hangar. Akar explained that attempts to supply the F-16 Block 70 have also been positive.

Turkey’s F-35 Plans Stay In Limbo

The Turkish Air Force, which had plans to supply 100 F-35 Lightning II under the Joint Offensive Aircraft (JSF) Program, officially ordered 30 aircraft. In this context a total of 30 aircraft would have been delivered in 2018, 4 in 2019, 8 in 2020, 8 in 2021 and 8 in 2022. However, the United States decided to impose an embargo and CAATSA sanctions on Turkey over the S-400 Air Defense Missile System procurement.

So far, production of 6 F-35A aircraft has been completed for the Turkish Air Force. The aircraft on the production line were made available to the US Air Force. As of September 2021, Turkey has been completely excluded from the JSF Project. Turkey made payments of USD 1 billion 400 million USD under the program.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar with TuAF F-4
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar with TuAF F-4

““As you know, we had a payment of 1 billion 400 million dollars from the F-35. Starting from this payment, we focused on how we can move this process to a good point. On top of that, more F-16s came to the fore. The issue of modernizing our existing F-16s or giving new F-16s came to our agenda,” Turkish President Erdogan said in last year.

Turkiye requests for both F-16 Block 70 and the compensation of US$1.4 billion spent on the F-35 program for strengthening the Turkish Air Force’s existing fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets.

Turkiye’s demand for F-16 Block 70 includes the supply of 40 new fighter jets and 80 kits for the modernization of the F-16s in the TuAF inventory. It is known that the demand includes the supply of ammunition and spare parts for the new aircraft and the existing F-16 fleet. The F-16 Block 70 package is estimated to cost Turkey USD 6 billion.

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SOURCE: TurkishDefenceNews

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