ANKARA --- The Pentagon on July 2 said Turkish pilots and maintenance personnel who are being trained on the F-35 fighter jet in the state of Arizona will begin flight academics soon.
“Turkish F-35 pilots and maintainers have already arrived at the Luke Air Force Base,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning told reporters.
Manning said following established agreements, the United States maintains custody of the aircrafts until it is transferred to partner countries and it will normally occur after the partner training is complete, which will take approximately one to two years.
Turkey has been in the F-35 program since 1999.
The Turkish defense industry has taken an active role in the production of aircraft. Alp Aviation, AYESAS, Kale Aviation, Kale Pratt & Whitney, and Turkish Aerospace Industries have been producing parts for the first F-35 fighter jet.
The U.S. Senate, however, overwhelmingly approved the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which includes an amendment prohibiting sales of the jets to Turkey, citing the purchase of the S-400 air defense system from Russia and the detaining of U.S. citizens as reasons. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Hurriyet Daily News website.