Turkey has become the latest JSF program partner nation to commit to buying the F-35 Lightning II, with approval by the Turkish government on May 6 for an initial order for two aircraft.
A statement from the Turkish government read: “After the evaluation of the current situation in the JSF Program, which Turkey joined as a consortium partner since Concept Demonstration Phase in 1999 in order to meet the Next Generation fighter requirement of Turkish Air Force and has been attending utilizing Turkish industry’s production and assembly capabilities to the maximum extent, the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) has been tasked to order the first two F-35A aircraft with Block-3F configuration under Low Rate Initial Production-10 (LRIP-10).”
The Turkish statement added that it remained committed to its plan of 100 F-35s. “Up until now, JSF Program is being followed closely and our support to the program continues strong as ever. In this context, Turkey continues her forecast of the acquisition of 100 F-35A aircraft as planned and declared previously.”
In a separate statement, F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin said it is “honoured the Turkish government has committed to procure their first two of 100 program of record F-35A Lightning II 5th generation multirole fighters. This decision confirms the value of acquiring a 5th generation fighter capability and is testimony to the Turkish government’s confidence in the program.”
LRIP 10 is due to be contracted in 2016 for delivery in 2018, and will also be the same batch from which the RAAF’s second batch of eight F-35As will be drawn.