Turkey to buy two F-35s in 2012
Istanbul, April 12, 2012
Turkey, which said in February it intended to buy 100 of Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter jets, will buy only two this year, and will decide each following year how many planes it will order, Defence Minister Ismet Yilmaz told Reuters.
The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin Corp remain upbeat about the future of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a radar-evading warplane, but the project has been hit by delays and rising costs.
Turkey, Italy, England, Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Norway and Denmark are among partners to the United Sates in the project.
"Delays in the JSF Project stem from an ongoing development process for the planes, and Turkey has decided to order two planes in 2012 due to these delays," Defence Minister Ismet Yilmaz told Reuters in written comments.
"We will evaluate and decide each year the order size within this frame," Yilmaz said.
Yilmaz had told the parliament in February that Turkey planned to buy 100 F-35s in total, but other partners had reduced orders due to rising costs and delays in the project.
The US had postponed its order for 179 F-35s by five years, and England is to decide on the order in 2015.
Yilmaz also said the cost of an F-35 would be around $120 million for Turkey, much higher than a cost estimate of $40-50 million calculated in 2002. – Reuters