Turkey is seeking to acquire two additional F-35 Lightening II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) jets as part of its second batch order, an unidentified Turkish procurement official has revealed.
The official told Hurriyet Daily News that the second batch of jets is likely to be funded from the country’s Defense Industry Support Fund.
"We are planning to use funds from our Defense Industry Support Fund for the first four aircraft. Two are set for delivery in 2015, and another two for 2016," the official added.
"Later, we will be expecting the creation of a special fund to finance the rest of the programme."
A senior procurement official was also as quoted saying that the decision on the number of aircraft will be confirmed at its next Defense Industry Executive committee meeting, which was first held on 5 January 2012.
"We are expected to decide on the figure as two, as was the case before the 5 January meeting," the senior official added.
Turkey was originally supposed to place orders for the purchase of six aircraft with plans to acquire 100 to 120 F-35s at a later date.
Many Turkish companies, including Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), have been contracted with over $5bn of procurement awards for the development of the aircraft’s parts.
The country also has plans to collaborate with South Korea to develop a fighter jet that will be similar to the JSF after 2020.
The F-35 Lightning II is a single-engine, fifth generation multirole fighter, currently under development to conduct ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defence missions with stealth capability.
Powered by Pratt and Whitney’s F-135 engine, the multirole F-35 JSF will be equipped with an electro-optical targeting system that provides long-range detection and precision targeting.
Principally financed by the US, with additional funding from the UK, the JSF programme includes Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Norway, Turkey and Netherlands.
Image: An F-35A prototype being towed. Photo: courtesy of the JSF – F-35 Global Industry Team.