July 11, 2002 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Turkey today (July 11) became the seventh international partner to sign up for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, joining the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Denmark and Norway. Australia also has announced its intention to participate.
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor to develop the F-35 JSF
for the armed forces of those nations, as well as for the United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. Turkey
and the other countries participating in the F-35's decade-long System Development and Demonstration (SDD
) phase will have the opportunity to develop and supply parts and systems, influence the aircraft's design and place representatives in the government's JSF Program Office.
"We already have an excellent, long-term working relationship with both the Turkish government and the aerospace industries of Turkey, thanks to our mutual work on the F-16 program," said Tom Burbage, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and general manager of the F-35 JSF program. "We're excited to be able to continue that association with the F-35. It's very inspiring to have Turkey on the team."
Over the life of the program's SDD phase, Turkey will contribute approximately $175 million to the F-35's development.
The next-generation F-35 is a stealthy, supersonic multirole fighter designed to meet the U.S. government's requirements for a new generation of transformational weapons. The single-engine JSF will be manufactured in three versions: a conventional-takeoff-and-landing (CTOL
) variant for the U.S. Air Force, an aircraft-carrier version (CV
) for the U.S. Navy, and a short-takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL
) version for the U.S. Marine Corps.
The cornerstone of the F-35 is affordability, achieved in large part through a very high level of common parts and systems across the three versions of the aircraft.
The F-35 is designed to replace aging fighter inventories, including U.S. Air Force A-10s and F-16s, U.S. Navy F/A-18s, U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers and F/A-18s, and United Kingdom Harrier GR.7s and Sea Harriers.
Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 in conjunction with its principal partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE
SYSTEMS. Pratt & Whitney and General Electric are developing two separate but interchangeable propulsion systems.
The JSF X-35 demonstrator aircraft completed a highly successful flight-test program in August 2001, and the U.S. government awarded the JSF development contract to Lockheed Martin the following October.