Ankara, Turkey (UPI) Jan 26, 2011
Turkey may buy up to 116 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, a deal that could be undermined by U.S. efforts to cut costs of one of the most expensive military programs ever.
"We're planning to buy 100 aircraft with an additional option of another 16," Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul was quoted as saying by Defensenews.com.
Turkey is a member of the U.S.-led nine-nation Joint Strike Fighter consortium, which is building three variants of the F-35. It had previously said it would buy 100 planes, with the Gonul statement for the first time indicating it could become a larger purchase.
Turkey, the NATO member with the second-largest armed forces behind the United States, has a fleet of 240 American-made F-16 jets it wants to gradually replace with new F-35 planes.
Yet as the JSF program is running into more and more trouble, Ankara is worried that the deal might never materialize.
The original development cost estimates for the program have increased 56 percent to $59.4 billion, Aviation Week reports, prompting the Pentagon to cut the program's funds in the 2012 budget. The United States is covering 90 percent of the program's costs.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is especially critical of the F-35B variant, a short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing aircraft that has become much more faulty and expensive than planned.
Gates said he would give producer Lockheed Martin two years to come up with a more efficient and less costly plane or the program would be buried. Meanwhile, Gates decided to delay the purchase of 124 of the 449 units of the F35-B version until 2016.
The United States isn't alone. Several governments have mulled delaying or cutting purchases of F-35A models to slash defense spending.
Norway in October said it would push back by two years to 2018 its order of 16 planes, reaffirming, however, its commitment as a "serious and credible partner" to the program.
Yet the delays could push up costs for orders, as the consortium is forced to produce and sell fewer planes. Moreover, new competition for the U.S. fifth-generation jet has arrived: The Chinese have recently tested what they said is their new stealth plane, the J-20, developed by China Aviation Industry Corp.
The JSF consortium is led by the United States and also includes Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, Norway and Australia. Apart from Lockheed Martin, suppliers involved in the program include U.S. partners Northrop Grumman and engine maker Pratt & Whitney, as well as BAE Systems from Britain.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
The Military Industrial Complex at SpaceWar.com
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com
Outside View: Think the way out of danger
Washington (UPI) Jan 26, 2011
The traditional U.S. solution to military threats has generally been to spend rather than think our way clear of danger. With the wind down of the wars in Iraq and hopefully Afghanistan and the state of the economy with debts and deficits that seem endless, U.S. defense budgets will and must decline, probably dramatically. In these circumstances, the usual plea is "to do more with less. ... read more
Boeing And Northrop Grumman Submit Proposal For Missile Defense Competitive Contract|
LockMart-Raytheon Team Submits Proposal For GMD Contract
Aegis BMD System Completes Tracking Exercise
NATO Achieves First Step On TBMD Capability
Raytheon nabs $145 million deal in Kuwait
Kuwait Awards Contract To Raytheon For Patriot GEM-T Missiles
LockMart Receives Contract For Long Range Anti-Ship Missile Demonstrations
S. Korea, U.S in talks over missiles
New US drone spy cameras fail Air Force test: study
Three US drone strikes kill 13 in Pakistan
Gray Eagle UAS Program Expanding
Israel to sell Brazil air force drones
Boeing Tests New Ka-band SATCOM Antenna System
Raytheon to supply radios to Aussie army
RAF Begin Training With US On Intelligence Aircraft
Joint STARS Successfully Supports JSuW JCTD
Israel 'needs F-35 to stay on top'
For US soldiers, a healthy food revolution
US troops revamp training for foggy battlefields
AMF JTRS Team Demonstrates JTRS Onboard AH-64D Apache Helicopter
Germany to sell A400M planes to cut costs
U.S. may sell stealth fighters to India
US senator demands probe of tanker mix-up
Trial delayed for Iranian in Nigerian arms case
Clinton to join security talks in Germany
Obama faces tough diplomacy ahead of tour
Gates heads to Canada for talks on war, weapons
US Republicans push UN overhaul
'Air laser' could find bombs at a distance
ONR Achieves Milestone In Free Electron Laser Program
US Office Of Naval Research Achieves Milestone
Navy test fires electromagnetic cannon
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|