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F-35 to bring 5th generation capabilities to Turkish Air Force

September 29, 2005 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Turkey is positioning itself to take delivery of the world's most advanced, international multi-role fighter. The first F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is nearing completion and is preparing for its first flight next year. The program continues to meet milestones on schedule as evidenced most recently on Sept. 7, when electrical power to the aircraft was switched on for the first time.
Lockheed Martin executive vice president and general manager of F-35 JSF program integration, Tom Burbage, told reporters at the International Defence Industry Fair in Ankara, Turkey that the F-35 defines all the advancements of a true fifth-generation fighter. Turkey is a critical alliance member and an international partner on the F-35, playing a vital role in the development of the world's fifth-generation multi-role stealth fighter.

Lockheed Martin has been providing Turkey with fighter jets since 1951 and the F-35 is the next step in enabling the Turkish Air Force to share logistics, training systems, tactics and strategies with the alliances and coalitions of tomorrow.

"Over the last 50 years, Turkey and Lockheed Martin have established a strong relationship based on a foundation of trust and a shared interest in preserving peace and stability in the world, including their latest decision to modernize their F-16 fleet," Burbage said. "With Turkey's choice of JSF, we are looking to a bright future with the potential of extending our relationship another 50 years."

The F-35 is the world's first stealthy multi-role joint strike fighter, designed to enable true joint and coalition application of air power, with a host of fifth-generation capabilities unavailable today. Turkish industry continues to play a vital role in the development of the F-35. Seven Turkish companies have received JSF contracts, and Lockheed Martin continues to seek out additional F-35 industrial opportunities for Turkish businesses. Negotiations are under way between the Turkish and U.S. governments through the Production and Sustainment Follow-On Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) process, to ensure the JSF program satisfies Turkey's long-term industrial and defense needs.

"JSF strengthens us both by engaging Turkey's deep pool of aerospace talent not only for manufacturing activities, but also for actual design inputs into the F-35 aircraft. It will be a proud day for Lockheed Martin when we can look back and proclaim a century of success with Turkey," Burbage said.

The stealthy F-35 is a supersonic, multi-role, fifth generation fighter designed to replace aging AV-8B Harriers, A-10s, F-16s, F/A-18 Hornets and United Kingdom Harrier GR.7s and Sea Harriers.

The first JSF test aircraft, a conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) F-35A, is scheduled to make its inaugural flight in the third quarter of 2006. Component-level assembly is under way for the short-takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B, which will be the second aircraft to enter flight testing.