Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz announced on Thursday that Turkey will purchase 100 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets from the US. Responding to a parliamentary question from Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) member İsmet Büyükataman on whether Turkey will stick to its plan to buy F-35s, Yılmaz said, “We are not currently considering abandoning the purchase of the planes,” in a written statement.
He said Turkey will buy 100 F-35 jets from the US at a cost of $16 billion. Two of the planes have been initially ordered for delivery in 2015. Turkey announced in March 2011 that the planned purchase of fighter jets from the US was put on hold because the Pentagon refused to share the source code used in the software designed for the aircraft, as well as the codes that might be used to externally activate the planes.
The purchase comes as part of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program, an international program consisting of partnerships between a number of countries. Turkey is expected to purchase 100 F-35 jets as part of the project, worth $16 billion. While the US is the primary customer and financial backer of the program, the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Norway and Denmark are other participating counties.
Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Turkey’s involvement in the production process of the new generation of F-35 warplanes in 2007. The decision to buy the new generation of fighter planes came at a time when numerous other countries, including Denmark, the Netherlands and Canada, had suspended their orders.