ANKARA - Turkey will buy a first batch of two F-35A Joint Strike Fighters as a sign of its commitment to the troubled U.S.-led program, the government's defense procurement agency said Jan. 5.
A statement said the government had authorized the order to meet the future needs of the Turkish air force for next-generation fighter planes.
Turkey has long planned to purchase about 100 jets to replace its F-4 and F-16 fleet, but the increasing costs have hampered the acquisitions.
The Joint Strike Fighter, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, is the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program ever.
Its cost has jumped to about $385 billion, and the price of each plane is now well over $100 million. U.S. officials said last month that it has encountered a spate of technical problems expected to delay production still further.
However, Japan said it had chosen the F-35 for its next-generation mainstay fighter, ordering 45 of the aircraft in a deal worth around $4.7 billion.
The Pentagon plans three versions of the plane: the standard F-35A that would replace the F-16 fighter, the F-35C designed to land on naval carriers to replace the F-18 and the F-35B vertical take-off model that would supplant the Harrier aircraft flown by U.S. Marines.
Turkey to Order F-35 Fighters from U.S. - Defense News