By Kasim Ileri,
Washington: The U.S. will deliver two more F-35 fighter jets to Turkey in 2019, the military head of the F-35 program said Monday.
Speaking to reporters in Arlington, Virginia, Vice Admiral Mat Winter, the executive officer for the F-35 program, said he expected the warplanes to be delivered in March.
Ankara plans to acquire 100 F-35 fighter jets in the coming years.
Winter said he does not “see any indication of a change” in the delivery of Turkey’s 100 jets.
“The Pentagon must submit a report to Congress within 90 days of the 2019 Defense Authorization Act being enacted,” he added, referring to an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that prohibits F-35 sales to Turkey until the Pentagon issues a report on Turkish-American relations.
The F-35, a stealth jet built by Lockheed Martin, is considered one of the most expensive pieces of U.S. military equipment, with an average cost of around $100 million.
Winter said his office has provided technical and programmatic information for the report and will submit it within 90 days.
Turkey took delivery of its first two F-35 fighter jets in late June at a ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas.
Turkey has been in the F-35 program since 1999. The Turkish defense industry has taken an active role in their production, including Alp Aviation, AYESAS, Kale Aviation, Kale Pratt & Whitney and Turkish Aerospace Industries making parts for the first F-35 fighter jet.
*Servet Gunerigok contributed to this story