May 11 2018

Turkish F-35 made its first flight

The first fighter jet F-35A bought by the Turkish Armed Forces made its maiden flight in Fort Worth, Texas, the Dutch Aviation Society announced on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/scramble_nl/status/994709486576242688

The jet produced by Lockheed Martin had tail number 18-0001 and was flown by Commander Wilson. The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) is expected take delivery of the first batch of 30 Lockheed Martin F-35 single-engine fighters at a ceremony in the United States on Jun. 21, in spite of a U.S. Congress bill calling for a halt in weapons sales due to faltering relations between the two countries. Lockheed Martin has not issued any statement to confirm this news. 

The bill was proposed to the U.S. Congress on May 8, calling for a report on U.S.-Turkish relations and demanding the suspension of U.S. weapons sales to Turkey until the report’s publication.

The bill referred to “strained relations” between the pair of NATO allies, blaming these on “provocative actions” by the Turkish government and Turkey’s deal to purchase S-400 missile defence systems from Russia. Whether the proposed bill might endanger the delivery date of these jets is known, at least for now.