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Sunday, January 08, 2012

Turkey orders the F-35

Turkey has decided to order two F-35 aircraft (Hat Tip: Will).
“The defense industry executive committee has authorized the Undersecratariat for the Defense Industry [SSM, Turkey’s procurement agency] to conduct talks for the aircraft’s purchase order,” the committee said in a statement after its meeting. The committee’s members include Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz, Chief of the General Staff Gen. Neçdet Özel and procurement chief Murad Bayar.

SSM and Lockheed Martin, the plane’s main manufacturer, now are expected to sign a formal document for the sale of the first two aircraft. This decision enables Turkey to begin the reception of the aircraft in 2015. Turkey is a member of the F-35 consortium but earlier had not been committed officially to buy the aircraft. It plans to operate around 100 aircraft eventually.

Other members of the consortium include the U.S., Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Norway and Denmark. But there are other countries that would buy the aircraft that are not members of the consortium, including Israel. A recent decision by Japan to buy the F-35 has been a major boost for this aircraft program. Japan and Israel are expected to receive deliveries in 2016.
Heritage.org's The Foundry blog argues that Turkey's purchase of the F-35 shows that Turkey 'gets' our region while the Obama administration does not.
It’s unfortunate that the Obama Administration has failed to register the message. In addition to canceling production of the F-22, a stealth fighter jet built to ensure U.S. supremacy over any battlefield, the Administration has reduced production of the F-35, which American taxpayers have invested $50 billion in. As the first aircraft in history with a 360-degree view and the ability to see over 800 miles with integrated combat systems, the F-35 is a marvel of modern engineering.

In a time of austerity, critics of F-35 production argue that the jet is too expensive. Yet what they disregard is that the cost of plane decreases as production and sale of jets to allies increases. As part of the international F-35 consortium, British Defense Minister Phillip Hammond expressed concern over the cuts to the program yesterday, citing the likelihood that costs of the jet will increase if there is reduced production.

Rather than limiting production of the F-35 and cancelling its brother, the F-22, the Obama Administration should invest in the potential these jets offer to U.S. air capabilities and to our allies. Gutting the defense budget makes Americans and our allies less safe. A first step to remedying this is to take the F-22 and F-35 off the chopping block.
Well, sort of. If the Americans really 'got it' they also would not be selling this jet to Islamist Turkey.

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At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they sell such planes to Turkey, the US confirm their provincial, narrow minded, complete misunderstanding of the world, after allowing Pakistan to get the atomic bomb against the largest democracy in the aea and only possible stopper of China; supporting all South American fascist and filo-nazi dictatorships for 40 years; causing the fall of secular Arab dictators to allow the take-over by muslim fundamentalists (Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia) and even Al Qaida nazis (i.e.: Lybia); creating two muslim states in the heart of Europe side-by-side with fighters from Iran and Saudi Arabia (Bosnia and Kossovo); and the rest of the short sighted (as Robert Kennedy said) and idiotic policies of Foggy Bottom, Pennsylvania Ave. and Langley.


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