Turkey Steps Closer to Procurement of New F-16 Fighter Jets

Turkey Steps Closer to Procurement of New F-16 Fighter Jets

Turkey Steps Closer to Procurement of New F-16 Fighter Jets from the United States. U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Jeffrey Flake announced the development, citing a statement from the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.

“Today marks an important step forward in Turkey’s purchase of the latest-generation F-16 Block 70 fighter jets and upgrades to its existing fleet of F-16s,” Flake stated, highlighting the benefits for both nations’ security interests and NATO interoperability.

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Most Advanced F-16 Variant

The Bureau confirmed the U.S. is facilitating Turkey’s acquisition of the cutting-edge F-16 Block 70 variant “the most advanced F-16 ever made, available only to closest allies and partners.” This underscores the enduring U.S. commitment to its security partnership with the key NATO ally.

Long-Awaited Procurement

Turkey has sought to modernize its aging F-16 fleet for years through new acquisitions and upgrades. In January 2023, the Biden administration approved the potential $20 billion sale of 40 new Block 70 jets and 79 modernization kits after protracted negotiations.

Congressional Approval Remaining

While a major hurdle, the latest milestone does not finalize the procurement. The U.S. Congress still needs to grant formal approval for the sale, a sticking point that previously caused delays amid Ankara’s refusal to greenlight Sweden’s NATO membership bid.

Frustrated by the lengthy process, Turkey had even begun exploring alternative fighter jet options like the Eurofighter Typhoon. However, with the F-16 deal now advancing, Ankara appears set to move forward with modernizing its air force through its longstanding American partner.

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