Turkey Confirms Contract Signed with US for F-16 Warplanes

Turkey Confirms Contract Signed with US for F-16 fighter jets

Turkey Confirms Contract Signed with US for F-16 fighter jets. This development marks a significant step forward in the long-standing negotiations between the two NATO allies.

The confirmation came shortly after the U.S. State Department announced that Turkey had signed a letter of offer and acceptance for the Lockheed Martin-made warplanes.

According to the Turkish Defense Ministry, while the contract has been signed, delegations from both countries are continuing to negotiate the details. The ministry stated that further information would be shared with the public once decisions on these details have been finalized.

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The deal, estimated at around $23 billion, includes Turkey’s request for 40 new F-16 aircraft and 79 modernization kits to upgrade its existing fleet, a request initially submitted in October 2021.

The progression of this deal signifies an improvement in U.S. Turkey relations, which have been tested in recent years.

The Biden administration formally informed Congress of its intention to proceed with the sale in January, shortly after Turkey ratified Sweden’s NATO membership. U.S. officials, including Ambassador Jeffrey Flake, have praised the deal as beneficial for both countries’ national security and NATO interoperability.

This sale represents a shift from Turkey’s previous pursuit of more advanced F-35 fighter jets, from which it was removed in 2019 due to its acquisition of Russian S-400 missile systems.

As Turkey aims to replace its aging F-16 fleet, which is set to be phased out starting in the 2030s, this deal is crucial for maintaining its air force capabilities. Concurrently, Turkey is developing its own fifth-generation combat aircraft, Kaan, which recently completed its maiden flight.

The upcoming NATO leaders’ summit in Washington next month presents an opportunity for a potential meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Joe Biden, potentially furthering bilateral discussions and cooperation.

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