US Defense Dept: Turkey to receive first F-35s soon


The first F-35 combat aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed Martin and developed by 10 countries including Turkey, in the scope of the Joint Strike Fighter program, are scheduled for delivery to Turkey within a year.

According to the statement released by the U.S. Department of Defense, the fifth generation F-35 Lightning IIs perform successfully at the same cost as the fourth-generation fighter jets. Lockheed Martin's F-35 test pilot and former Canadian F-35 pilot Billie Flyn describes the F-35 as "a more effective weapon than anything flying today."

Turkey ordered 100 aircraft, 30 of which were approved. The aircraft ordered by Turkey are reported to have the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variants. STOVL aircraft can take off without needing a long runway and make vertical landings. F-16 pilots currently serving in the Turkish Air Force will be able use the planes after the completion of a six-week training program.

Thanks to the short takeoff and vertical landing features of the new generation F-35 combat aircraft, they can also be used on TCG Anadolu, a multi-purpose amphibious assault ship, which is currently under construction in Tuzla Sedef Shipyard and is set to enter service in 2021.

Turkish firms participating in the F-35 project are expected to make a profit of $12 billion. For instance, Alp Aviation partook in the production of the bodywork and landing gear, while Turkey's defense giant ASELSAN developed electronic optical targeting systems and air intervention controls. Ayesaş supplied the missile remote control interface and panoramic cockpit imaging system, and Fokker Elma produced electrical cabling and internal connection systems for F-35s. Moreover, Havelsan provided the training systems for F-35 jets, while Kale Aviation produced the body structure, connections and landing gear locking systems.

Defense giant ROKETSAN TÜBİTAK SAGE developed standoff missiles (SOM-J) to be transported by F-35s; Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) manufactured production materials, body coatings and provided the integration of air to ground systems; and Turkish defense firm MİKES participated in the production of various parts.

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