Concerned, but No Cold Turkey

Turkey is delaying the purchase of its first two F-35 strike fighters, citing concerns over the aircraft’s development and recent cost hikes, according to press reports. “The operational capabilities of the F-35 aircraft have lagged behind desired levels, and given the increasing drift of costs to supply aircraft in future years, Turkey is re-evaluating its plans,” stated Turkey’s defense procurement agency, reported UPI on Jan. 14. The US government, Lockheed Martin, and Turkey were close to signing a deal last year for the company to deliver the first two Turkish F-35s in 2015. Turkey is an original F-35 development partner and ostensibly plans to operate 100 airframes.