Turkey F-35 | News & Updates


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Turkish suppliers to be eliminated from F-35 program in 2020
By: Valerie Insinna
08 June 2019

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A mock-up of the F-35 cockpit is on display at an air show in Cigli, Turkey. (dardanellas/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is preparing to transfer Turkey’s industrial participation in the F-35 to other countries unless Ankara reverses course on its plans to buy the Russian S-400 air defense system.

The move — which in early 2020 would end contracts with major Turkish defense contractors such as Turkish Aerospace Industries, Roketsan and Tusas Engine Industries, among many others — is just one of many steps the U.S. Defense Department intends to take to strip Turkey from the F-35 program, according to a June 6 letter from acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.

The training of Turkish F-35 pilots at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and of Turkish maintainers at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, will also end, Shanahan wrote, and U.S. military exercises in Turkey are in jeopardy.

“If Turkey procures the S-400, as we discussed during our call on May 28, 2019, our two countries must develop a plan to discontinue Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program,” Shanahan wrote in the letter, which was addressed to his counterpart, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar. “While we seek to maintain our valued relationship, Turkey will not receive the F-35 if Turkey takes delivery of the S-400.”

However, Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, noted that Turkish participation in the program would be allowed to continue if it drops its plan to buy the Russian air defense system. The delivery of the S-400 could occur as early as this month.
“Turkey still has the option to change course. If Turkey does not accept delivery of the S-400, we will enable Turkey to return to normal F-35 program activities,” she told reporters Friday. “Turkey is a close NATO ally and our military-to-military relationship is strong.”

Turkey, a partner in the F-35 program that helped fund the development of the jet, plans to buy 100 F-35As.

Its first jet was rolled out in June 2018 in a festive “delivery ceremony,” but although Turkey formally owns its jets, the United States has the power to keep the planes from moving to Turkish soil and intends to keep all four existing Turkish jets from leaving the United States.

Lord told reporters that the Pentagon is still deciding what it will do with Turkey’s jets. One option would be to buy the aircraft and repurpose them for the U.S. Air Force, but no official decision has been made.

Turkish companies are responsible for 937 parts used to build the F-35, with 400 of those sole-sourced from Turkish firms, Lord said. Existing contracts would go through a “disciplined and graceful wind down” period in “early 2020,” Lord said.

“If we can work to our timelines with the Turks, we would have no major disruptions and very few delays,” she said.

Vice Adm. Mat Winter, the F-35’s program executive, said in April that 50-75 aircraft could be delayed over a two-year period if Turkey is removed from the program, according to Breaking Defense. But Lord said those disruptions would occur only if the Pentagon terminated its supply chain agreements this summer.

Ultimately, prime contractors Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney will make the decisions on which subcontractors replace the Turkish vendors, but the Pentagon has identified new suppliers that could step up and make the parts currently sole-sourced by Turkey.

“They are predominantly U.S. sources. That’s not to say that we won’t continue to do what we always do with program management and look for other sources, because we would like to have second, third sources for most of the items,” she said.

The Defense Department has already stopped material deliveries to Turkey, halting the buildup of an engine overhaul facility that was planned to be built in and operated by Turkey.

“There are two other European MRO&Us [maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade facilities] that can absorb the volume with no issue whatsoever,” Lord said.
Despite Turkey’s industrial role in the program, Lord said she was confident that all important technical information would stay secure.

"We control what is downloaded from our computers. We have shared what's appropriate. The Turks have no critical documentation that we're concerned about,” she said.

What’s the impact on Turkish F-35 training?
The most immediate impact to Turkey, according to the letter from Shanahan, is that no new Turkish students will begin F-35 training at Luke Air Force Base. This defers the training of 20 students scheduled to begin training in June, as well as 14 students between July and November 2019.

“This training will not occur because we are suspending Turkey from the F-35 program; there are no longer requirements to gain proficiencies on the systems,” according to a document attached to the letter that spelled out the schedule for Turkey’s removal from the program.

In addition, the country will not be allowed to attend the annual F-35 Chief Executive Officer roundtable on June 12 — depriving Turkey of the opportunity to give input on any changes to the program’s governing documents.

But the most major day of reckoning is July 31, when Turkish personnel would no longer be allowed to access Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, where pilots are trained; Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, where maintainers are trained; or the F-35 Joint Program Office in Washington, D.C., where Turkish “cooperative project personnel” are stationed. Instead, the Turkish personnel must depart the United States and return to their country.

There are currently 42 Turkish military personnel training at Luke and Eglin — four pilots, and the rest maintainers. The July 31 deadline would allow 28 of them to complete their training, but the remainder would be sent home before their training naturally concluded, according to information attached to Shanahan’s letter.

The two Turkish instructor pilots based at Luke, who have completed the F-35 pilot training, would also be sent back to Turkey.

The larger impact
The situation with Turkey is fraught for myriad political and national security reasons. As the lone predominantly Muslim nation in NATO, Turkey occupies an important position in the alliance. The nation is also home to Incirlik Air Base, which is used by both the U.S. and Turkish air forces.

In the hopes of resolving the issue, the United States has sent technical teams to Ankara and hosted meetings in Washington to discuss the threat posed by the S-400 and the Pentagon’s offer of Raytheon’s Patriot air and missile defense system.

So far, those efforts have been unsuccessful, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continuing to make strong statements in support of an S-400 buy and the country’s defense minister acknowledging that Turkish military personnel had been sent to Russia for training on the air defense system.

Asked whether a final decision to buy the S-400 should be interpreted as Turkey bolstering its relationship with Russia at the expense of NATO, Andrew Winternitz, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for Europe, demurred.

“Our counterparts really want to continue our really strategic partnership and our cooperation at NATO. And so we hope this is an aberration,” he said.
If Turkey buys the S-400, he added, “it changes our relationship, but it’s not something that we hope is going to disturb the many-layered strategic partnership that we have in Turkey across a number of issues.”

But other political actions may be unavoidable.

Should Turkey move forward with the S-400 purchase, it could trigger additional sanctions from Congress as part of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which penalizes U.S. partners who purchase Russian military equipment.

It could also impact future military exercises in Turkey, Winternitz said.



Jul 22, 2016
584 3
Russian Federation
Russian Federation
that's why Turkey is also looking for partners in their TF-X project as well, which why the F-35 was a gapfiller for.
currently as rumours and sources be told, Turkey received something like $1 Billion USD from Qatar for the development of the TF-X in return for Qatar purchasing something like 24 aircraft.
Pakistan was offered co-production on the TF-X for 75 as part of PAF's 5th generation project
Azerbaijan during ADEX-18 mentioned they would put $100 Million into development, but throughout the years it will eventually lead to a $1 Billion investment with Azerbaijan inducting 12-36.
The F-35 was kind of a hit for Turkey though, but not at the same time. more resources and time to focus on the TFX, while the F35 goes dwindling down.
but losing the F35 means Turkey won't be able to launch F35B aircraft from their Juan Carlos Carrier, not really giving them the "advantage" they were seeking to flew their power of influence.


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US gives Turkey ultimatum on Russian missiles
08 June 2019
06 hours ago
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Turkey has been given a deadline of the end of July to choose between buying US fighter jets and Russian anti-aircraft missile systems.

Acting US Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan set out the ultimatum in a letter to his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar.

Turkey, he said, could not have both America's F-35 advanced fighter jets and Russia's S-400 systems.

The two Nato allies have been locked in a row over the S-400 for months.

America argues that the Russian systems are both incompatible with Nato defence systems and pose a security threat, and wants Turkey to buy its Patriot anti-aircraft systems instead.

Turkey, which has been pursuing an increasingly independent defence policy, has signed up to buying 100 F-35s, and has invested heavily in the F-35 programme, with Turkish companies producing 937 of the plane's parts.

What consequences does Turkey face?
Mr Shanahan says in his letter that the US is "disappointed" to hear that Turkish personnel have been sent to Russia to train on the S-400.
"Turkey will not receive the F-35 if Turkey takes delivery of the S-400," he writes. "You still have the option to change course on the S-400."

View attachment 7712
...and the S-400 missile system from Russia

The letter includes a schedule for winding down Turkish participation in F-35 pilot training.

Text of Shanahan letter to #Turkey on ending its participation in F-35 program over Russia S-400 acquisition. Mentions Congress support... pic.twitter.com/kKoUthyTjD
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) June 7, 2019
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End of Twitter post by @Joyce_Karam

"We do not want to have the F-35 in close proximity to the S-400 over a period of time because of the ability to understand the profile of the F-35 on that particular piece of equipment," US Under Secretary of Defence Ellen Lord told reporters.

The first four F-35s due to be delivered to Turkey have still not left the US, officially to allow Turkish pilots to train in them in America.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday his country was "determined" to proceed with the S-400 deal.

"Unfortunately we haven't received a positive proposal from the American side on the subject of Patriots like the S-400s from Russia," he said.

Turkey has the second-largest army in Nato, a 29-member military alliance set up to defend against what was at the time the Soviet Union.

The head of Russia's state defence conglomerate Rostec, Sergei Chemezov, was quoted as saying on Friday that Russia would start delivering the S-400 to Turkey in "about two months".

What is the S-400 system?
The S-400 "Triumf" is one of the most sophisticated surface-to-air missile systems in the world.

It has a range of 400km (250 miles), and one S-400 integrated system can shoot down up to 80 targets simultaneously.
Russia says it can hit aerial targets ranging from low-flying drones to aircraft flying at various altitudes and long-range missiles.

View attachment 7711

  1. Long-range surveillance radar tracks objects and relays information to command vehicle, which assesses potential targets
  2. Target is identified and command vehicle orders missile launch
  3. Launch data are sent to the best placed launch vehicle and it releases surface-to-air missiles
  4. Engagement radar helps guide missiles towards target


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No change in Turkey’s course on S-400 deal: Turkish officials
June 09 2019

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Turkish officials have told daily Hürriyet that there was no change regarding Turkey’s stance on an S-400 missile defense deal with Russia.

Their comments were in response to a question about the U.S. acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan’s letter to Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar that laid out the steps to remove Turkey from the F-35 training program.

The anonymous sources noted that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s has already said that the purchase from Moscow was a “done deal” and “there is no backtracking from that.”

The same sources said that “some of the U.S. institutions do not want to take into consideration” the issues that Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump had previously mutually agreed on. They also said that Turkey’s suggestion of establishing a joint commission with the United States to examine the S-400 issue was “still on the table.”

Shanahan said in his letter sent to the Turkish Defense Ministry on June 7 that all Turkish pilots in the F-35 fighter jet program must leave the United States by July 31 and training for new pilots will be suspended.

The timetable would allow pilots currently training on the F-35 to complete their training and for other pilots to be reassigned to other posts, Shanahan said.

The letter said there were 34 students scheduled for F-35 training later this year.

“This training will not occur because we are suspending Turkey from the F-35 program; there are no longer requirements to gain proficiencies on the systems,” according to an attachment to the letter that is titled, “Unwinding Turkey’s Participation in the F-35 Program.”

In his letter, Shanahan also warned Ankara that its deal with Moscow risked undermining its ties to NATO, hurting the Turkish economy and creating over-dependence on Russia.

“You still have the option to change course on the S-400,” Shanahan wrote.

Tensions between the United States and Turkey have reached a fever pitch in recent months with Ankara set to begin receiving the advanced Russian surface-to-air missile system in July.

The United States has already suspended deliveries of parts and services related to Turkey’s receipt of the multi-million dollar jets.

Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defense system from the United States with no success, Ankara decided in 2017 to purchase Russia’s system.

U.S. officials advised Turkey to buy the U.S. Patriot missile system rather than the S-400 system, arguing that the Russian-made system would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35 to possible Russian subterfuge.

But Turkey has emphasized that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO operability and would not pose a threat to the alliance.

Ankara said that it was Washington’s initial refusal to sell the Patriot missile system that led it to seek other offers, adding that Russia offered a better deal that included technology transfers.

Erdoğan said on June 4 the United States had yet to give Turkey an “offer as good as the S-400s.”



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Poland wants to get the F-35 aicraft if the United States does not deliver them to Turkey
June 11, 2019
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Polish authorities are hoping to push for American F-35 fighter jets if the United States cancels the delivery of these aircraft to Turkey, RIA Novosti reports citing a Polish source familiar with the matter.

Dissatisfied with Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, the Unites States is trying to give Ankara an ultimatum, threatening to refuse to supply Turkey with F-35 fighter jets. At the same time, the purchase of the F-35 is part of the plan to modernize the Polish armed forces.

“Polish leaders are closely monitoring the conflict between Turkey and the United States over the Ankara purchase of the S-400 systems. After all, this could put an end to the sale of the newest fifth-generation F-35 fighters to Turkey,” the source said.

“Poland, so to speak, is waiting in line for these planes. Even if the United States wanted to sell these planes to Poland, under normal conditions Warsaw did not have a chance of getting them before Turkey. And now Turkey will simply be removed from the queue,” he continued.

The interviewee noted that the F-35 are ready to be sent off to Turkey. “If the Turkish contract fails, then the prepared munitions would have to be redirected somewhere else. In Warsaw, they hope that Poland will be chosen,” he concluded.

Earlier, Ankara stressed that it would not refuse to buy the S-400 and the first order would be arriving in July. The United States declared that the S-400 is incompatible with NATO standards, threatened sanctions if the delivery was realized and repeatedly said that they can delay or cancel selling Turkey the latest F-35 aircraft.

In March, the Polish Minister of Defense signed a Technical Modernization Plan for the country's armed forces to be achieved by 2026. Under this program, Poland plans to buy 32 fifth-generation multi-purpose aircraft by 2026. Specifically, these would be purchases of American F-35 fighter jets. The plan is for these jets to replace the Soviet-made Su-22 and MiG-29 aircraft.



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US, Turkish defense chiefs to discuss S-400 row
12 June 2019
WASHINGTON- Anadolu Agency

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U.S. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on June 11 he will discuss Washington's spat with Ankara over its purchase of Russia's S-400 missile defense system with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar on June 12.

Asked if he had received any response from Akar on the issue, he said the two sides could update each other on developments during today's phone call.

"I'm hoping tomorrow for he and I to exchange views and get an update on what kind of progress we've made. That's really all I have to update you on," he told reporters.

His remarks came ahead of his meeting with Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak at the Pentagon.

Shanahan said last week in a letter to Akar that the F-35 fighter jet training program for Turkish pilots would end July 31, giving the pilots enough time to complete their training. However, this action will cut things short.

"We've suspended some of the activities in terms of training. We haven't suspended any of the maintenance activity," he added.

But the Pentagon said June 11 that the U.S. Air Force has halted ongoing training of Turkish pilots on the F-35 before the end date for "safety" concerns.

The actions are the latest in a series of moves by the U.S. to try to remove Turkey from the F-35 program amid a standoff with its NATO ally over the purchase of Russian S-400 system.

Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defense system from the U.S. with no success, Ankara decided in 2017 to purchase Russia's system.

U.S. officials argued it would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35 to possible Russian subterfuge, but Turkey has emphasized that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO operability and would not pose a threat to the alliance.

Ankara said it was Washington's initial refusal to sell its Patriot missile system that led it to seek other offers, adding Russia offered a better deal that included technology transfers



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Turkey: Pentagon threat to remove F-35 program not in spirit of alliance
By Allen Cone
June 12, 2019

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An F-35A Lightning II pilot sits in his aircraft before a mission on April 26 at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. Photo by Staff Sgt. Chris Thornbury/U.S. Air Force

June 12 (UPI) -- The Pentagon's threat to remove Turkey from the F-35 program is not in line with the spirit of the two nations' alliance, the Middle East country's national defense minister said Wednesday.

Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan sent a letter on June 6 to Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar that Turkey would be pulled from the F-35 Lightning II jet program -- including sales and the banning of Turkish contractors -- unless Ankara decides not to go ahead with plans to purchase a Russian missile defense system.

Akar said Turkey is preparing a response to the letter and that he plans to speak with Shanahan on the phone Thursday, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

"All topics are on the table and we are continuing to openly and clearly express our known views. We will continue to maintain the same attitude and stance," Akar said in a statement, according to Xinhua news agency.

On Tuesday, Shanahan said he will discuss the U.S. opposition to purchasing Russia's S-400 missile defense system with Akar on Wednesday, noting it would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35 to possible Russian interference. But Turkey has said the S-400 wouldn't be integrated into NATO operability.

And Turkey said it was unable to purchase the U.S Patriot missile system.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Air Force halted ongoing training of Turkish pilots on the F-35 at Luke AFB, Ariz., as well as training for Turkish maintenance personnel at Eglin AFB, Fla., and joint military exercises in Turkey.

By early 2020, contracts with major Turkish defense contractors, including Turkish Aerospace Industries, Roketsan and Tusas Engine Industries, would end if the country is pulled from the program, the Pentagon said.

"Covering defense and security issues between the two countries, the letter expresses the expectation of finding a solution to the existing problems within the framework of strategic partnership and maintaining the comprehensive security cooperation and emphasizes the importance of continuing negotiations," the Turkish Defense Ministry posted on its website Saturday.

On Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted a resolution "expressing concern for the United States-Turkey alliance."

The resolution, according to the Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry, "is not consistent in any way with the deep rooted friendship and alliance between Turkey and the U.S. It is impossible to accept the unfair and unfounded allegations raised in the Resolution about Turkey's foreign policy and judicial system.

"As we have always emphasized, the most effective way of eliminating disagreements between friendly and allied countries is dialogue and respect for the sovereign decisions of the countries. Instead, approving such resolutions which are not binding and which do not serve to enhance mutual trust; using the language of threat and sanctions and putting some artificial deadlines are not acceptable."

The U.S. Defense Department is seeking new parts suppliers for planes to replace those coming from Turkey should it buy the defense system from Russia. Lockheed Martin is the primary airframe builder and Pratt & Whitney manufactures the propulsion system.

Turkey, which was scheduled to receive its first aircraft later this year, has been among nine partner nations in the program. Six NATO countries have received F-35s: the United States, Australia, Britain, Italy, Norway, Netherlands.

Two additional nations that also participated in the aircraft's development -- Canada and Denmark -- are scheduled to receive the aircraft as well.

The first F-35 Lightning II rolled out of the Lockheed Martin factory in Fort Worth, Texas in 2006.