Turkish F-35 Deal Moves Ahead

The Turkish government approved negotiations to proceed for the purchase of the F-35 strike fighter. Turkey’s defense procurement ministry is now expected to formally ink a deal for Turkey’s first two F-35s, with delivery expected in 2015, reported Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News. “Lockheed Martin is pleased that the [Turkish] Defense Industry Executive Committee has authorized the procurement of the F-35,” Michael Rein, Lockheed’s F-35 spokesman, told the Daily Report on Jan. 6. “Turkey is an essential partner in F-35 production, development, and sustainment activities and we remain ready to support its future fighter aircraft requirements,” he added. One of the nine F-35 development partners, Turkey reportedly plans to purchase some 100 F-35s. Purchase negotiations with Turkey stalled last March, allegedly due to US refusal to share sensitive software coding.