BAKU, Azerbaijan, Nov. 23
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
In case if Washington refuses to sell F-35 planes to Ankara, Turkey will look for an alternative, Turkish Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar said, Trend reports Nov. 23 with reference to Turkish media.
Akar noted that Ankara intends to acquire F-35 planes as Turkey is in dire need of them.
“At one time, Ankara turned to Washington to purchase Patriot air defense systems, [but then] we had to look for an alternative from Russia,” the minister said.
Earlier, US Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen M. Lord said that Turkey will be formally removed from the F-35 program by March 2020.
"We are proceeding with a very orderly wind-down [of Turkey’s participation in the program] through March 2020 at this point ... We are winding down in March of 2020," Lord said.
The US under secretary noted that the US has been searching for “alternate suppliers of over 900 components”, which were to be provided by Turkey, since 2018, therefore it is expected that there will only be a minimal impact to the program.
The decision to exclude Turkey from the F-35 program came as Washington’s reaction to the supply of Ankara with the modern Russian S-400 air defense system.
Deliveries of S-400, which caused a crisis in relations between Turkey and the US, began on July 12. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the full installation of the air defense system will be completed in April 2020.
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