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Turkey submits order for two F-35s with option on 100

Special to WorldTribune.com

ANKARA — Turkey has again decided to submit its first order of the Joint Strike Fighter.

Turkey’s Defense Industry Undersecretariat, known as SSM, has been authorized to order the F-35 fighter-jet from the United States.

F-35A

F-35A

SSM said the initial order would consist of two fifth-generation fighters from prime contractor Lockheed Martin.

“The Defense Industry Undersecretariat has been tasked to order the first two F-35A aircraft with Block-3F configuration under Low Rate Initial Production-10,” SSM said.

In a statement on May 6, SSM said Ankara would eventually procure 100 JSF aircraft. The agency said its initial order came after an evaluation of JSF, a program Turkey joined in 1999.

In January 2013, SSM canceled an order for two F-35s. The agency cited rising costs as well as technical flaws in what was meant to have been a stealth aircraft.

In the latest statement, SSM dismissed U.S. concerns that Turkey has lost interest in JSF. The agency said Turkey would follow up its initial order with additional procurement.

“Up until now, the JSF program is being followed closely and our support
to the program continues strong as ever,” SSM said. “In this context, Turkey
continues her forecast to acquire 100 F-35A aircraft as previously planned
and declared.”

Officials said the United States has agreed to examine Turkey’s demands
for JSF coproduction. But they acknowledged that the administration of
President Barack Obama has not approved Ankara’s requests for software codes
that would allow Turkey to modify the F-35.

“SSM has been tasked to perform necessary activities for the
establishment of the final assembly and check-out line and depot-level
maintenance center for the F-135 engine within the Turkish local industry
and Turkish Air Force structure,” SSM said. “Turkey aims to provide service
to all F-35 users around the region via these facilities to be established.”

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