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Tuesday 20th March 2018

US to Exclude Turkey From F-35 Programme


7Dnews London - Reuters

Thu, 18 Jul 2019 01:20 GMT

The United States said on Wednesday, July, 17th, that it was removing Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program, a move that had been long threatened and expected after Ankara began accepting delivery of an advanced Russian missile defence system last week.

The first parts of the S-400 air defence system arrived at a military base northwest of Ankara on Friday, July, 12th, an implementation of Turkey's deal with Russia which the United States has sought for months to prevent, Reuters reported.

"The US and other F-35 partners are aligned in this decision to suspend Turkey from the program and initiate the process to formally remove Turkey from the program," said Ellen Lord, the under secretary of defence for acquisition and sustainment.

"The United States is spending between $500 and $600 million in non-recurring engineering in order to shift the supply chain," she added.

The White House said in a statement earlier on Wednesday that "the F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities."  

Washington has long warned that buying the Russian defence system may lead to the exclusion of Turkey from the F-35 program.

The Pentagon has already drawn up a plan to exclude Turkey from the program, including stopping the training of Turkish pilots on the plane.

"The situation with Turkey is a government-to-government matter and we'll comply with any guidance issued by the United States Government," said a spokesperson for Lockheed Martin Corp, the prime contractor on the jet.

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