Turkey’s expulsion from F-35 programme harder than predicted - Washington Times
The expulsion of Turkish manufacturers from the F-35 fighter jet programme has proved much more difficult than expected since Turkey is continuing to produce and deliver parts for the stealth fighter jet, Washington Times said on Sunday.
The United States excluded Turkey from an international consortium to build the plane in July last year, after it received the first batch of Russian S-400 air defence missiles. Washington says Turkey may also face sanctions under legislation aimed at preventing defence procurement from Moscow.
The United States was due to stop receiving the parts from Turkey in March, but it is still taking delivery.
U.S. defence sources say Pentagon and its partners in the private sector had struggled to find non-Turkish companies capable of making certain key parts for the cutting-edge aircraft, according to Washington Times.
“People at Lockheed Martin, people at DoD … it was more difficult than they thought, by some degree, and then you put COVID-19 on top of that,” Washington Times cited retired Air Force Gen. Herbert J. Carlisle, now president and CEO of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), as saying.
The Pentagon has begun removing Turkish manufacturers from the F-35’s supply chain - a process that involves finding new companies to make 1,005 parts, some of which are solely-sourced by Turkish firms.