ANKARA — Turkey's top procurement panel decided Wednesday Jan. 7to place anorder forfour more F-35 fighter jets and five more CH-47F Chinook heavy transport helicopters, the government announced.

Jan. 7.

Turkey's procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), said in a press release that the top panel for procurement, the Defense Industry Executive Committee, convened Monday Jan. 5 and reviewed ongoing programs.

It said the government decided to place an order for four more F-35s from the multinational Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) consortium, into which Turkey is a member. The move increases Turkey's official orders to six. so far. Turkey plans eventually to buy an eventual batch of 100 F-35s.

SSM said that the cCommittee also decided to place an order for five CH-47F Chinook heavy transport helicopters. This will be a follow-on order to a previous deal involving six platforms.

SSM also said that The cCommittee decided to move on to the "pre-design" phase in Turkey's bid to design, develop and produce an indigenous fighter jet, SSM said.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, chairman of the cCommittee, told reporters after the meeting that a twin-engine model would be pursued in the national fighter aircraft program.

Davutoglu also said that Turkey would continue to negotiate with all three bidders in a disputed program to build the country's first long-range air and anti-missile defense system. In September 2013, Turkey selected China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp. for a $3.44 billion offer. But after increased pressure from its NATO allies, Turkey since the summer has opened since the sumer parallel talks with the second- and third-comers in the bidding: the European Eurosam and the US Raytheon/Lockheed Martin team, respectively.

Davutoglu said that talks with all three bidders would last about cover an extended period of six months.


Burak Ege Bekdil was the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.

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