Turkey wants to receive its first F-35s sooner than planned. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Monday his country is set to receive its first two F-35s in 2018 rather than 2021, IHS Jane’s 360 reported. Another four will be received as part of the first order. The NATO ally has decided to order a second batch of fighters that will be delivered in 2021 and 2022, according to Reuters. The Turkish Undersecretariat for Defense Industries did not say how many aircraft would make up the second order, but US officials told Reuters that 24 jets would be bought. Turkey plans to eventually buy at least 100 F-35As, according to Lockheed Martin.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.