Turkish defence minister expects no problems in delivery of F-35 jets
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Thursday the process of procuring F-35 fighter jets from the United States was working fine and the first delivery was expected in November, Anadolu Agency reported.
Turkey has ordered 100 F-35 fighter jets from the United States, but its plans to take delivery of an order it has also made for Russian S-400 air defence missiles might be an obstacle.
Calls to block the delivery of F-35 jets to Turkey if it goes ahead with the S-400 purchase have gained bipartisan support in Washington, despite concerns that suspending Turkey from the F-35 programme could cause production delays. Several components of the fighter jets are produced by Turkish companies.
NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, U.S. General Curtis Scaparrotti, last week said that if Turkey went ahead with its purchase of the Russian S-400 systems, Washington should not deliver the F-35 fighter jets.
“My best military advice would be that we don’t follow through with the F-35, flying it or working with an ally that’s working with Russian systems, particularly air defence systems with one of our … most advanced technological capabilities,” he said.
"Despite some statements, the process of procuring F-35 jets is working fine. Our pilots and maintenance team continue training in the United States," Akar told reporters on Thursday.
He said infrastructure preparations were being made in the eastern province of Malatya, where the F-35 jets would be delivered.