Turkish Defense Ministry to review F-35 order annually
The F-35 fighter jet (Joint Strike Fighter), which Turkey and other countries plan on purchasing. REUTERS photoTurkey’s F-35 jet orders in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F-35 project will be analyzed on an annual basis by the Defense Industry Executive Board, Turkish Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz has told Reuters.
Turkey, along with other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Australia, Norway, Canada and Denmark, had announced that it would order 100 F-35 fighter planes, but many partner countries are backing out due to recent delays in delivery and price increases for the jets by the United States.
When asked by Reuters whether Turkey would proceed with its F-35 orders, Yımaz said Turkey would order two F-35 jets in 2012 and that the decision would be reviewed on an annual basis by the Defense Industry Executive Board.
He added that the delays were due in large part to the fact that the F-35 jet was still undergoing development.
Pentagon also delays F-35 orders
Meanwhile, the U.S Pentagon announced that it would also delay its orders for 179 F-35 jets by five years. The U.K. said it would disclose the number of jets it wants to order by 2015, while Italy said it was planning to decrease its orders by 30 percent.
As part of its “B plan,” Yılmaz said they were working on modernizing the F-4 model and would begin studies and plans to create a domestic Turkish prototype fighter jet.
In response to a question regarding the price increases for the jets, Yılmaz said: “At present the cost of a single jet for Turkey is about $120 million. In 2002 we had estimated that the average cost of an F-35 jet would be around $40 million-50 million, but today the price has reached $120 million.” k HDN