The Turkish Air Force has received the first of 16 F-4E Phantom fighter jets from McDonnell Douglas, following which the aircraft will undergo upgrades.

Aselsan will undertake the $24m upgrade, known as Simsek (Lightning), to make the F-4E aircraft safer and more efficient, according to Flightglobal.

The upgrade will include equipping the Phantom aircraft with new avionics, navigation and secure digital communications equipment; replacing flight software and improving mission planning equipment.

Structual revovation work will also take place on the aircraft at the air force’s first air supply and maintenance centre in Eskisehir.

The Turkish Air Force, which currently has 161 F/RF-4Es in its inventory, has been operating the F-4E aircraft since 1974.

Turkey first signed the Phantom upgrade deal with Israel Aerospace Industries in 1994 to modify 54 aircraft to F-4E 2020 Terminators.

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The delivery of upgraded models to the air force’s 111 Squadron in Eskisehir, 132 Squadron in Konya and 171 Squadron in Malatya began in 2000.

The F-4E Phantom is a two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter-bomber.