Turkey plans to buy 100 F-35 jet fighters

Turkey is planning to purchase 100 multi-purpose F-35 jet fighters worth $16 billion, Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz has said. The first two of the military aircraft will be delivered by 2015, he said.

The decision to order two F-35s was made last month. The multi-purpose F-35 fighter jets are being produced by the US-based arms producer Lockheed Martin. Turkey became a member of the international F-35 consortium in 1999. Other partners of the consortium include Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Norway and Denmark.

The statement indicates that Turkey is insisting on proceeding with its plan to purchase 100 F-35s even as many other partner countries, including the United States, have backtracked on their purchase plans due to delays and incremental costs.

The Pentagon postponed the purchase of 139 F-35 fighter jets for five years, while Britain said the decision regarding the number of F-35s that the country would buy would be delayed until 2015. Italy last week said its F-35 orders would be scaled down by 30 percent. The U.S. government plans to manufacture 2,443 F-35 fighter jets, according to a statement made to Turkey in 2012, Yilmaz said. “Purchase orders in the upcoming years regarding the [F-35 military aircraft] will be subsequently assessed depending upon the negotiations.”

Turkey has spent $315 million so far on three phases of the development of the F-35 fighter jets that the country is producing as part of the partnership, Yilmaz said. Noting the incremental costs of the three phases, he said Turkey’s contract regarding its partnership in the consortium did not cover those costs. Aircraft supply costs would become clear after the aircraft order deal is signed, he said.

Copyright © 2012