Turkey wants to buy 40 new F-16 Fighting Falcons from the United States

The demand for the purchase of new jets and retrofit kits is expected to meet with opponents.

F-16 sunrise

U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Drew A. Egnoske

Turkey is serious about improving its military capabilities, especially its air force. He originally wanted the technological prowess of the 5th generation F-35 Lightning II, but was sidelined. Not giving up, Turkey asks US to let it go purchase approximately 40 Lockheed Martin-F-16 fighter jets as well as 80 retrofit kits for its current planes, Reuters reports citing sources familiar with the matter.

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Reinforcement of the Turkish Air Force with F-16 jets

Turkish F-16D escorts

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jason allred

As an ally of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), Turkey acquired military equipment from the United States. Turkey currently has nearly 300 F-16 units (F-16C and F-16D) in its air fleet. These are all Block 30/40/50 models. Turkey first bought F-16s from the United States in the 1980s and has been a regular buyer of the aircraft ever since.

While Turkey is one of five countries that manufacture F-16s locally, any acquisition of the jet fighter must go through the United States. Valued at billions of dollars, Turkey’s purchase requisition is currently the subject of a military overseas sale process. The US State Department and Congress have yet to approve the deal before it can pass. The State Department or Congress can block the F-16 transaction.

“As a rule, the department does not confirm or comment on proposed defense sales or transfers until they have been officially notified to Congress,” a State Department spokesperson quoted by Reuters said.

The United States has already refused the sale of F-35s to Turkey

F-35 Hot load

US Marine Corps photograph by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jorge Dimmer

The request to purchase new F-16s and retrofit kits was an interesting display, especially as the United States declined Turkey’s purchase order for more than 100 F-35 Lightning II jets. In particular, Washington withdrew Ankara from the F-35 Lightning II program after the latter acquired the Russian S-400 advanced air defense system. The United States said Russia could use the S-400 to obtain classified data on F-35 jets, adding that the system is incompatible with NATO systems.

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Being an international program, the F-35 Lightning II is produced by several countries, including Turkey. According to Daily Sabah, Turkish manufacturers have been involved in manufacturing hundreds of jet components, including engine propulsion system, center fuselage as well as parts for cockpit display systems and landing gear.

F-16 Purchase not a closed deal

Turkish F-16D Spain

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Hernandez

With Turkey still withdrawn from the F-35 Lightning II program, its request to purchase 40 new F-16 planes and 80 retrofit kits is expected to meet some opposition. The deal is likely to be stalled, especially as Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan plans to buy another batch of S-400s from Russia, the Daily Sabah said.

Source: Reuters, Daily Sabah

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