ANKARA, (BM) – The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said his country will be forced to look for alternatives to fifth-generation F-35 US fighter jets if the US refuses to transfer them to the republic, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
He announced this at a press conference in Ankara on Wednesday.
“We are partners [of the F-35 project] and today we have invested $ 1.4 billion in it. If we do not get the F-35, we will be forced to look for alternatives,” the Turkish foreign minister said.
BulgarianMilitary.com recall that because of the S-400 Defense Systems purchase from Turkey, the United States has stopped the transfer to Turkey of support equipment for the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
“Pending an unequivocal Turkish decision to forgo delivery of the S-400, deliveries and activities associated with the stand-up of Turkey’s F-35 operational capability have been suspended,” the US DoD told Reuters at April 2, this year.
Two months later the Turkish president warned the United States that Ankara would turn to the international arbitration court if Washington refuses to implement the contract for F-35 fighter jets. “We have already paid them $1.25 billion for the F-35 project. If they do make such a wrong move, we will take it to the international arbitration court because we will want them to pay us back the money we have spent so far,” he said.
What is the Real Technical Risk for F-35 if Turkey has the S-400 Anti-Aircraft System?
NATO states use a tactical data link that allows military aircraft and even ships and ground troops to share their tactical pictures in near-real time. This is called Link 16.
NATO aircraft also use Identification Friend or Foe systems, known as IFF, to identify friendly aircraft in the sky.
An IFF and Link 16 interrogator would have to be integrated into the S-400 system to allow the Turkish F-35, with the transponder, to fly within lethal range of the S-400.
This opens up all Link 16 and IFF tactical data link equipment to be compromised, a former radar and weapons expert said on background.
“With the F-35 flying in close proximity to the S-400 system, over time, you could collect sensitive stealth characteristics of this F-35 and learn its detailed stealth capabilities,” the expert said.
The waveform off the Lightning II’s stealthy surfaces and its transmissions are highly classified in order to protect radar operating parameters, stealth technology and encrypted Link 16 codes.
For instance, “when you know the waveform, you can spoof them,” sending a fake signal to a receiver in order to trick an operator.
The concern is not necessarily that the Turkish military would compromise this sensitive data, but instead that malware on the S-400 or Russian workers operating, setting up or maintaining the system would access the info.
These S-400s are highly networked, with nodes spanning hundreds of miles. There would be multiple, vulnerable nodes that could potentially broadcast sensitive data back to Russia or, perhaps, the highest bidder.
Even operating U.S. Air Force F-35s out of Incirlik Air Base could become difficult if an S-400 was nearby.
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