Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Turkey May Buy Up to 116 F-35s: Defense Minister

ANKARA- Turkey's Air Force may buy up to 116 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Lightning II aircraft, the NATO ally's defense minister has said.
Turkey, a member of the U.S.-led nine-nation F-35 consortium, has already said that it means to buy around 100 JSFs. But Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, in response to questions by an opposition parliamentary deputy on the JSF program, said for the first time in a Jan. 17 statement that the maximum figure would be 116.
"We're planning to buy 100 aircraft with an additional option of another 16," he said.
Members of the JSF consortium include the United States, Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, Canada, Norway and Australia. Turkey also will buy 30 F-16 Block 50 fighters from Lockheed Martin, the JSF's top producer.
Additionally, Turkey plans to build with a foreign partner or by itself what it calls a "national fighter jet" that would complement the F-35 in the 2020s.

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