ISTANBUL (Hurriyet Daily News)—Turkey is planning to purchase 100 multi-purpose F-35 fighter jets worth $16 billion, Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz said, reported the daily Milliyet.
The first two of the military aircraft will be delivered by 2015, he said. The decision to order two F-35s was made last month.
The multi-purpose F-35 fighter jets are being produced by the U.S.-based arms producer Lockheed Martin. In 1999 Turkey became a member of an international F-35 consortium that includes Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Norway and Denmark.
The statement indicates that Turkey is insisting on proceeding with its plan to purchase 100 F-35s even as many other partner countries, including the United States, have backtracked on their purchase plans due to delays and incremental costs.
The Pentagon postponed the purchase of 139 F-35 fighter jets for five years, while Britain said the decision regarding the number of F-35s that the country would buy would be delayed until 2015. Italy last week said its F-35 orders would be scaled down by 30 percent.
The U.S. government plans to manufacture 2,443 F-35 fighter jets, according to a statement made to Turkey in 2012, Yilmaz said. “Purchase orders in the upcoming years regarding the [F-35 military aircraft] will be subsequently assessed depending upon the negotiations.”
Turkey has spent $315 million so far on three phases of the development of the F-35 fighter jets that the country is producing as part of the partnership, Yılmaz said.