December 15, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Turkey has approved a production agreement for the U.S.-led multinational effort to develop the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, following the lead of the Netherlands, Canada, Britain and Australia.
The F-35 Lightning II
The Defense Industry Executive Committee has decided to procure the F-35 Lightning II from the United States in a project that could exceed $10 billion.
Officials said this marked the largest defense project in Turkish history.
The committee, chaired by Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, met on Dec. 12 and discussed the JSF
and other projects. Chief of Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul and Defense Industry Undersecretary Murad Bayar attended the session.
Officials said the approval by the committee marked an agreement in principle to purchase the JSF. They said a formal contract would be signed in 2008.
The remaining international partners involved in the $276.5 billion project including Italy
, and Denmark
, are due to sign the agreement by the end of the year, Heinz said. Norway
's agreement might slip into next year because of questions in its legislature about its industry's share of F-35 related contracts.