The Turkish Government is set to place an order for an additional four F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft from the US, the country’s prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu has revealed.
Speaking to Reuters after a meeting of Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM), Davutoglu said: "It is planned that Turkey will buy 100 F-35 warplanes in the project.
"We previously ordered two in this framework. We have now decided to order four more."
The order for the supply of two block-3F configuration F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) fighters to the Turkish Air Force was awarded to Lockheed Martin in 2014.
The F-35 JSF is currently under development in three versions. It is a fifth-generation multi-role fighter aircraft designed to conduct an array of ground attack, reconnaissance and air defence missions with stealth capability.
Variants include a CTOL aircraft for the US and allied air forces, a short takeoff and landing fighter for the US Marine Corpsand the UK Royal Navy, as well as a carrier version for the US Navy.
In December 2014, the US Department of Defense (DoD) selected Turkey as one of the two European locations for heavy engine and air frame maintenance, repair, overhaul, and upgrade (MRO&U) of the fifth-generation aircraft.
Apart from additional F-35 jets, the SSM also decided to acquire five more CH-47F Chinook heavy transport helicopters from the US to supplement the six choppers it had ordered in 2011, as reported by DefenseNews.
In addition, a decision was also taken to advance to the ‘pre-design’ phase in the country’s efforts to design, develop, and produce an indigenous fighter aircraft.
Image: A USAF F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft in flight Florida, US. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo by Staff Sgt Joely Santiago.