ANKARA, (BM) – Turkey’s exclusion from the F-35 program could be a valuable move for the Turkish defense industry and even more helpful for Turkish defense. Such an opinion spread among military experts, mainly from Turkey.
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Ismail Demir, head of the Turkish defense industry, said the same in a television interview on April 30th this year. According to the highest-ranking official in the Turkish defense industry, Ankara will prioritize the production of the local TF-X fighter, despite the expected loss of nearly $ 1.4 billion from Turkey’s expulsion from the F-35 program.
Strictly the same opinion, although expected, was expressed by Temel Kotil, executive director of TAI – the company whose task is to blow up the Turkish consumer soon. “My main priority is the TF-X program. It needs to be done,” Kotil said.
Temel Kotil also said that Ankara had allocated an additional $ 1.3 billion for the project, covering the costs of phase 1 of it. “A total of 6,000 engineers are working on this program,” he added.
According to preliminary plans, the Turkish TF-X fighter should be in the air in the period 2025-2026. For this purpose, TAI will soon have a brand new specially built hangar for the project and, according to Kotil, the second-best wind tunnel for tests.
The Russian S-400 air defense system proved to be the obstacle
The purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems in Ankara has proved to be a significant problem in US-Turkey relations in recent years. Washington has decided to expel Turkey from the F-35 program, fearing that with the help of Russian S-400 air defense systems, the Russians could gain access to sensitive data on F-35 fighters. Another widely publicized reason was the lack of Link 16 – a system for communication between NATO countries and a method determining “who is the enemy and a friend.”
Of course, there is a more logical version than the one spread in the international information exchange. Washington, for example, has offered Ankara its S-400-equivalent Patriot systems, but Turkey has refused because of the high cost and, as has proven in recent years, less efficiency.
Turkey has repeatedly offered the United States a working group between the two countries to resolve the S-400 problem. There are no concerns about F-35 data, but Washington has repeatedly refused.
Turkey lost in the short term but gained a long-term, uncertain future
Against the background of international political relations, many military experts take for granted the two extremes of the problem – the United States is correct, Turkey is proper. However, a more in-depth logical explanation for Erdogan’s actions is very rarely sought.
Money should not be the cause. According to an expert and consultant of BulgarianMilitary.com, Turkey decided to buy S-400 to gain future independence from Washington and the S-400 to act as a deterrent against anyone in an attack.
It is also clear that Turkey would not receive the “American” F-35, but its export version with some requirements added according to the Turks. This is also a problem. We know that downhill fighters are undergoing system and software upgrades. Erdogan realized that the Turkish F-35 could become an expensive F-16 fighter without the enhancements that the United States offers to other partners at some point in the unfavorable development of world relations.
Something like Egypt – they have a great flotilla of F-16s, but in reality, they are so behind in terms of software and updates that they were forced to buy MiG and Su from Russia and Rafal from France.
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