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US to Remove Turkey from F-35 Mission After Russian Missile Defense Purchase

The US said on Wednesday that it was eradicating Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program, a measure long warned…

By Brooks Schroth , in Defense News , at July 19, 2019 1:55 AM EDT Tags: , ,

The US said on Wednesday that it was eradicating Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program, a measure long warned and expected after Ankara started accepting shipment of an advanced Russian missile defense system last week.

The first elements of the S-400 air defense system were flown to the Murted army airbase northwest of Ankara on Friday, sealing NATO partner Turkey’s contract with Russia, which Washington had struggled for months to prevent.

“The U.S. and different F-35 companions are aligned in this decision to droop Turkey from this mission and initiate the procedure to officially remove Turkey from the program,” Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, instructed a briefing.

Turkey’s foreign ministry stated the measure was unfair and will affect ties between the two nations.

Lord stated moving the supply chain for the superior fighter jet would cost the US between $500 million and $600 million in non-recurring engineering costs.

Turkey makes over 900 parts of the F-35, she said, including the supply chain would transition from Turkish to mainly U.S. facilities as Turkish suppliers are eliminated.

The F-35 slyness fighter jet, the most superior plane in the U.S. arsenal, is utilized by NATO and other U.S. associates.

Washington is worried that deploying the S-400 with the F-35 would enable Russia to gain an excessive amount of intimate details about the plane’s stealth system.

Washington had long mentioned the acquisition of the S-400 might result in Turkey’s removal from the F-35 program.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, speaking at the Aspen Institute’s annual security forum in Aspen, Colorado, stated he was involved at Turkey’s expulsion from the F-35 program.