Fighter Jet News

F-35 Lightning II News

Purchase of F-35 by Turkey one step closer

March 28, 2008 (by Eric L. Palmer) - The English edition of the news source Sabah, has announced that Turkey has committed to the purchase of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Lightning II.

Turkish F-35s will have force multipliers like tankers and AEW aircraft to back them up.

Sabah also reports that the National assembly of Foreign Affairs Committee confirmed the production contract for the F-35 aircraft. Within the scope of $10.7 billion project, Turkey will purchase 100 F-35A Joint Strike Fighters. These aircraft will be purchased within 10 years.

A Lockheed Martin official close to the F-35 program stated: "The article is a little bit overstated. There are still a few more wickets to go through in the Turkish parliament and it will ultimately require a vote by the full assembly. However, the Foreign Affairs Committee was one of the key committees."

The aircraft will add a significant increase in firepower to the Turkish Air Force. Consider that the Air Force has a small number of Boeing KC-135R air-to-air refueling aircraft which would add a lot of range to a strike composed of F-35s. If the jet works as advertised, just 4 aircraft could hit more targets at a longer range with more survivability than a full squadron of the aircraft it is replacing: The F-16.

Another force multiplier for the Turkish F-35 will be the 737 Wedgetail project. This is a Boeing new generation 737 set up as an airborne early warning aircraft with a powerful “MESA” radar system. While this program is still in development and has shown some trouble, hopefully it is on the way to proving itself. The radar is capable of simultaneous air and sea search, fighter control and area search.

The developers and warfighters of the Wedgetail aren’t quite sure of the additional combat potential above and beyond its original requirement. There is a long term possibility that this system could perform long range electronic attack. This is the ability to soft-kill or subvert a variety of sensors within the frequency range of the radar.

Assuming there are no serious delays in the F-35 program, Turkish F-35 production and delivery looks as follows. The list below shows the year production is funded and approved, delivery year and number of aircraft built that year:

Turkish F-35A Production

LRIP (Low Rate Initial Production)
FY-2012/2014/ 10
FY-2013/2015/ 10

Full Rate Production
FY-2014/2016/ 10
FY-2015/2017/ 12
FY-2016/2018/ 12
FY-2017/2019/ 10

All Turkish F-35s will have a minimum of Block III software which should give full functionality to the aircraft.

Related articles:
Forum discussion:
  • Start a discussion about this article in the F-35 forum.