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Turkey cleared to buy 30 block 50 F-16s

September 30, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Turkey wants to buy $2.9 billion worth of block 50 F-16s and related equipment. Besides 30 F-16s, the planned purchase includes 42 F110-GE-129 engines, radar systems, software integration, spare parts and support services.

The Government of Turkey has requested a possible sale of:
  • 30 Advanced F-16 block 50 Aircraft;
  • 42 General Electric F110-GE-129 Engines;
  • 60 LAU-129A Launchers;
  • 36 Link-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminals (MIDS-LVT);
  • 35 AN/APX-113 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe (AIFF);
  • 32 AN/APG-68(V)9 Radar;
  • 36 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System;
  • 3 Link-16 Ground Stations; and
  • 36 AN/ALQ-211 Airborne Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites or AN/ALQ-178 Self Protection Electronic Warfare Suites.

Also included are system integration and testing, software development/integration, test sets and support equipment, simulation units, link pods, spare and repair parts, publications and technical data, maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor representatives' program support services, contractor engineering and technical support services, and other related elements of logistics support.

The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $2.9 billion.

Suppliers of the equipment include BAE, Lockheed Martin, L-3 Communications, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress, which has 15 days to object to the sale.

It's the third F-16 sale announced since last December, when Greece announced it would buy 30 planes. Pakistan has received approval to purchase 18 new F-16s with an option for 18 more.

The deals should allow Lockheed to keep its F-16 line running through at least 2010, although it's not clear yet how much work Turkish industry may seek to perform on the F-16s that country is buying.

Earlier this year, Turkey and Lockheed Martin signed a deal modernize at least 117 of their older F-16s, with an option for the upgrade of another 100 platforms.

Turkey also is due to choose its next generation fighter aircraft before the yearend. The candidates include the U.S.-led F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II and Europe's Eurofighter Typhoon. Under that ambitious program, Turkey is planning tospend some $10 billion to buy nearly 100 fighters over the next 15 years. It has said that it could buy only the JSF, only the Eurofighter or a combination of both.