LONDON (AFX) - Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul has signalled Turkey's intention
to buy 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in a multi-billion dollar procurement
project, Turkish newspapers reported.
Gonul told Turkish reporters during an official visit to the United States
that Turkey and eight other countries involved in the F-35 project would sign a
memorandum of understanding by the end of November.
"Nine countries, including us, will sign it," newspapers quoted Gonul as
The minister was speaking after talks with US Defence Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld and his deputy Gordon England on topics ranging from combating
terrorism to the Turkish military's procurement projects.
The Turkish media reported before Gonul's trip that the Turkish Air Force
had chosen the F-35 in a project to buy 100 new generation combat aircraft to
replace the F-16, F-4 and F-5 aircraft currently used.
Gonul said the project would span the next 30 to 40 years and be worth an
estimated 11 to 12 bln usd.
He said the first plane would be delivered to Turkey in 2014.
The F-35 is being designed and built by a team led by US the firm Lockheed
Martin and is funded by a consortium of nine countries: the United States,
Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Norway and Denmark.
The first F-35s are expected to become operational in 2012.
The other option in the Turkish procurement project was the Eurofighter
Typhoon, built by a consortium of British, German, Italian and Spanish aerospace