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F-35 jet program will fail without Turkey, says President Erdogan



An F-35 fighter aircraft is seen when Turkey receives its first F-35 fighter jet with a ceremony on June 21, 2018 in Forth Worth, Texas, USA. Two of these planes destined for Turkey still have to leave the Americans ground.

Atilgan Ozdil | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed that the US fighter aircraft project F-35 will collapse without the intervention of his country.

The bomber developed by Lockheed Martin and the US Department of Defense is said to be the most expensive weapon ever to be offered at a program price of $ 20 trillion.

Speaking Tuesday at the 201

9 International Defense Industry Fair in Turkey, Erdogan said an F-35 project without his country would "probably collapse," according to Reuters. He added that those in the Pentagon who want to exclude Turkey from the operation and production of the aircraft should think again.

The NATO member Turkey is currently receiving two of the jets and receiving over 100 orders. The country also offers a small number of components that make up the aircraft.

In early April, however, the United States stopped supplying stealth fighter equipment to Turkey. The move was in protest of Ankara's planned purchase of a Russian missile defense system S-400.

Washington sees Anakara's purchase of the missile system as a hub for warmer relations with Moscow and a major risk to the safety of the F-35s technology.

The aviation analyst Justin Bronk of the Royal United Services Institute in London (RUSI) told CNBC on Tuesday that Erdogan's claims were exaggerated and that the US would not fail the program.

"The future of the US Air Force fighter fleet is the bet, stock and run of the F-35 program, which will make it work," he said.

Bronk admitted that the exclusion of Turkey would cause some problems with the supply chain, least of all in the short term.

"In particular (given) the fact that spare parts are already a problem and affect the readiness rates and costs of the US Air Force, it is a problem that additional capacity needs to be found for certain components," he said over the phone.

As it is Now the unit price of an F-35A – including aircraft, engines and charges – is around $ 90 million. Variants F-35B and F-35C currently cost $ 115 million and $ 107 million per jet.

Turkey is one of the largest external customers of the F-35. Bronk said that the loss of order numbers will increase the average unit costs. He added that given the central cost of discussions about the Lockheed Martin program and the US Air Force, they will be frustrated if they have to exclude their NATO allies.

"This is definitely not the US that happily makes an excuse to get Turkey out of the F-35 program and they are really irritated that they have to do that," he said.

Now you see: What is it like to fly an F? -35:


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