The United States will buy F-35 fighters intended for Turkey after canceling the program of cooperation on their production due to Ankara’s acquisition of Russian S-400 SAMS, the Pentagon said.
Eight F-35A Lightning II aircraft will be purchased under an 862-million-dollar contract from manufacturer Lockheed Martin “due to the removal of the Republic of Turkey from the F-35 program,” the Pentagon said in a statement. Also, the deal includes six vehicles for the US air force.
Turkey initially planned to purchase about 100 F-35A but was excluded from the production and procurement program after buying the S-400. US officials say the F-35 is incompatible with the S-400. Washington also threatened Ankara with sanctions for the purchase of the S-400 but has not yet resorted to such measures.
It is not known what the exact number of F-35 aircraft that Lockheed Martin-built for Turkey. The Defense News portal previously wrote that there might be 24 such aircraft. One plane of this production stream costs about 78 million dollars.
Deliveries of the latest Russian S-400 air defense systems, which caused a crisis in Turkey’s relations with the United States, began in mid-July 2019. Washington demanded to abandon the deal and instead purchase American patriot complexes, threatening to delay or cancel the sale of the latest F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, as well as impose sanctions following CAATSA. Ankara refused to make concessions and continued negotiations on an additional batch of S-400.