DOD lines up plan to cut Turkey from F-35 program with ‘no major disruptions’
Source : Inside Defense June 7, 2019The Pentagon is working with the F-35 prime contractors to identify alternative sources for the parts Turkish industry produces for the Joint Strike Fighter, as the Defense Department’s acquisition chief says there will be “no major disruptions” if DOD can stick to its plan to remove Turkish industry from the program by early next year.
The Pentagon has begun
DOD is now eyeing “early 2020” for when Turkish companies would cease contributing to the Joint Strike Fighter’s supply chain, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord told reporters at the Pentagon today. She said Turkish industry produces 937 parts for the F-35, with about 400 of those sole-source contracts. For example, Turkey makes a “large portion” of the F-35 landing gear, as well as the aircraft’s center fuselage, according to Lord.
DOD has been working with Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor on the aircraft, and Pratt & Whitney, the prime contractor for the F-35 engine, to find alternate sources. The alternatives identified thus far have been “predominantly U.S. sources,” Lord said.
“That's not to say we won't continue to do what we always do with good program management, and look for other sources, because we would like to have second, third sources for most of the items,” she added.
In early April, F-35 Program Executive Officer Vice Adm. Mat Winter told lawmakers removing Turkey from the supply chain
But today, Lord said Winter’s projections were based around Turkish companies being cut out early this summer, rather than DOD’s plan for early 2020.
“What we are doing is working to do a very disciplined and graceful wind down,” Lord said. “If we can work to our timelines with the Turks, we would have no major disruptions and very few delays.”
Asked if the situation is affecting DOD’s negotiations over Lot 12 aircraft, she said: “Not at all.”
Meanwhile, DOD officials are having “internal discussions” as to what to do about the four F-35s Turkey has already purchased, Lord said. The aircraft are currently at Luke Air Force Base, AZ. Lockheed Chief Executive Marillyn Hewson recently