Turkey expects first two of batch of 24 new F-35s in 2018: Defense minister
Turkey expects to take delivery of the first two of a batch of 24 more Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft in 2018, Defense Minister Fikri Işık said on Nov. 17.
Işık said Turkey would buy a total of 24 F-35s over the next three years, of which six, including the two expected in 2018, had already been ordered. Turkey has decided to order a second batch of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35A fighter jets, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries said on Oct. 28.
It did not say how many more of the fighter jets it planned to order but two U.S. officials familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the second batch would comprise 24 jets. The Undersecretariat said it expected the new orders to be delivered in 2021 and 2022. Its statement was released after a meeting of its executive committee chaired by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım.
Lockheed is building three variants of the F-35 for the U.S. military and 10 countries that plan to buy the jets: Britain, Australia, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, Israel, Japan and South Korea. A Lockheed representative said the company is “honored” by Turkey’s continued commitment to the F-35 program which was further demonstrated by the decision by the DIEC on Oct. 29.
The U.S. portion of the program alone is expected to cost $379 billion. A total of 3,000 of the jets are to go into service around the world in coming years.
Turkey had placed its first orders in 2014 with two jets and has added another four to that in 2015, according to the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries website. It aims to eventually purchase a total of 100, it said.