Türkiye signs letter of offer, acceptance for F-16 jets from US - M5 Dergi
Defence NewsÖne Çıkan

Türkiye signs letter of offer, acceptance for F-16 jets from US

Abone Ol 

Türkiye has signed a letter of offer and acceptance for the purchase of F-16 fighter jets from the United States, the U.S. State Department confirmed, inching closer to the completion of the prolonged process that sometimes fueled tensions between the NATO allies.

“Getting this particular sale over the finish line took some time,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told a news conference late Thursday. “We’re glad to see it moving forward.”

Miller said the sale is an “investment in NATO interoperability” and will support the national security interests of the U.S., Türkiye and the NATO alliance.

Türkiye submitted the request to acquire 40 new Lockheed Martin F-16 aircraft and 79 modernization kits to upgrade its remaining F-16s in October 2021. The prolonged process tested Washington’s ties with Ankara and sometimes caused tense negotiations that clouded the relations between the two NATO allies.

The Biden administration formally informed Congress this January of its intention to proceed with the sale, estimated at around $23 billion, shortly after Ankara formally ratified Sweden’s membership in NATO.

Earlier on Thursday, Jeffrey Flake, the U.S. ambassador to Ankara, also lauded the progress.

“Today marks an important step forward in Türkiye’s purchase of the latest-generation F-16 Block 70 fighter jets and upgrades to its existing fleet of F-16s,” Flake said in a post on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

“This is good for U.S. national security, Turkish national security, and NATO interoperability,” he added.

His message came after the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs said the U.S. “is proud to announce today a major step forward in Türkiye’s purchase of new F-16 Block 70 fighter jets – the most advanced F-16 ever made, available only to closest Allies and partners.”

“Just the latest example of U.S. enduring commitment to security partnership with Türkiye,” the post on X read.

Separately, the Turkish Defense Ministry confirmed on Thursday that the procurement process “continues positively” and according to schedule.

Türkiye first sought to purchase Lockheed Martin’s more advanced F-35 fighter jets, but the U.S. removed it from the multinational program to buy and help develop and build the warplane in 2019 after it acquired S-400s from Russia.

Washington argued the air missile defense systems posed a risk to the advanced fighter jet, whereas Ankara insisted they would not be integrated into NATO systems.

Türkiye had ordered about 100 F-35s, and its companies were building some 900 parts of the fighter jet.

Türkiye’s request aims to replace the Air Forces Command’s aging F-16 fleet in the inventory, which will be phased out starting in the 2030s.

The country is one of the largest operators of F-16 jets, with its fleet made up of more than 200 older Block 30/40/50 models.

Keen to upgrade its air force, Türkiye is also developing its own, fifth-generation national combat aircraft, named Kaan, which performed its maiden flight this February.

Abone Ol 

Related Articles

Abone Ol 
Back to top button