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.
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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.