Total of 80 brand-new F-35s and F-16s are coming to the Balkans

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It’s official. The United States has issued a foreign military notification, signaling the proposed sale of F-16 Block 70 fighter jets to Turkey and F-35A combat jets to Greece. 

Photo credit: Wikipedia

This notification informs of Turkey’s impending acquisition of 40 sets of the F-16 Block 70 fighter jets, alongside 79 upgrade kits for the same model. Furthermore, associated equipment within a ballpark budget of $23 billion is part of the deal. Out of the total F-16 Block 70s, 32 will have a single-seat setting while the remaining 8 will be arranged in a two-seater configuration. 

The deal for Turkey goes above and beyond the F-16s. It includes 48 F-110 turbofan engines, 149 AN/APG-83 AESA SABR radars, 168 Viper integrated electronic warfare kits, and 858 LAU-129 guided missile launchers. Also included are 44 M61 Vulcan cannons and 16 AN/AAQ-33 forward-looking Sniper aiming pods. 

Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

Let’s delve into the weapons Turkey will be receiving: 952 of the AMRAAM AIM-120C-8 Air-to-Air Missiles, 96 AMRAAM Guidance Sections, and 864 GBU-39/B Miniature Bombs. Other weaponry set for purchase includes 96 each of AGM-88B HARM Anti-Radiation and AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Missiles (AARGM), an additional 401 AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, and a host of other systems. 

The sale also encompasses extensive upgrade kits and a Service Life Extension Program [SLEP] to modify existing Turkish F-16 Block 40 and Block 50+ aircraft. This means equipment required to prolong these aircraft’s lifespan will be part of the package provided by the US. 

In terms of Greece, approval for an $8.6 billion purchase of 40 F-35A fighters is underway, which also includes various supplementary systems. These planes are set to replace the F-4 and Mirage-2000 fleet that Greece currently operates. 

Photo credit: Flickr / Samuel King Jr.

With the formalities squared away, both Greece and Turkey eagerly anticipate the US Congress’s approval of these deals. Depending on the final decisions made by the respective countries, the entire agreement could be completed on a smaller budget. 

From here, the US Congress has 15 days to evaluate the sale. If no objections are raised within this period, the sale pushes forward. According to the relevant law, the assessment period is 15 days for NATO members, whereas it extends to 30 days for non-NATO countries. 

The evaluation of this arms deal falls under the responsibility of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. These entities hold the authority to assess and, if necessary, challenge international arms sales.

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