Turkey still providing U.S. with F-35 parts despite programme suspension

Turkey is continuing to produce and deliver parts for the U.S. F-35 stealth fighter jet despite being barred from the programme, said Defence Industry Director İsmail Demir, according to Reuters.

The United States was due to stop receiving the parts from Turkey in March, but it is still taking delivery, Demir said.

“There was an understanding in the United States that nothing would be bought from Turkey for the F-35s after March 2020, but that approach is no longer there,” Demir said, citing the coronavirus pandemic as a reason.

The United States excluded Turkey from an international consortium to build the plane in July last year, after it received a 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.

“Our companies continue their production and delivery” and Turkey remains a loyal partner, Demir said.

Taking Turkey out of the programme would cost its members as much as $600 million, he said.  A new schedule for the activation of the S-400s would be drawn up after the coronavirus outbreak, when operations were back to full capacity, he said.