An F-35 prepares to receive fuel from a Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker. After delays, Turkey has ordered its first two F-35s. (Tech. Sgt. Dennis Henry/US Department of Defense)
ANKARA — After delays of more than a year, Turkey’s top procurement panel has decided to order the country’s first two F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation multirole fighters, officials here said.
The decision was made at a meeting May 6 of the Defense Industry Executive Committee that oversees major procurement decisions.
“The Committee has tasked SSM (the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries procurement agency) to make the order for the first two aircraft,” SSM said in a press release.
“This decision confirms the value of acquiring a 5th Generation fighter capability and is testimony to the Turkish Government’s confidence in the program,” F-35’s maker, Lockheed Martin said in a press statement.
It said the order is for the first F-35A aircraft with Block-3F configuration under low-rate initial production-10.
Turkey has been a consortium partner of the multinational Joint Strike Fighter program since Concept Demonstration Phase in 1999.
In January 2013, Turkey indefinitely put off a decision to order the first two F-35s, citing unpredictable costs and technical snags.