The F-35 program will likely experience both schedule delays and cost increases if Turkey is pushed out of the program, but the Pentagon is working on ways to mitigate the potential fallout in that event, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord said in a May 10 press conference.
“We see a potential slowing-down of some deliveries over the next two years” if Turkey is voted out of the F-35 program, Lord said, as well as “some potential cost impacts. But, right now, we believe we can minimize both of those and are working on refining them.”
She said the partners are “very supportive” of the US’ insistence that Turkey drop its plans to buy the Russian S400 Triumf air defense system and instead buy something that is NATO compliant. She said she met with the other JSF partners recently in Brussels, Belgium, at a conference of armaments directors, and they back the US approach.
Turkey is “a very good supplier on the F-35 program,” Lord asserted, noting that partner countries are awarded F-35 supply chain contracts based on value. She said the Pentagon has been looking at alternative supply sources, but expressed hope that a deal can still be made with Turkey that would prevent its departure from the program. (end of excerpt)
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(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Pentagon is also looking to replace the eight Turkish companies that produce parts for the F-35 and its engine.
“We have for some time now been working to look at alternate sources of supply for the F-35 supply chain that is inside Turkey right now; that being said, we continue to work with Turkey and hope that they will use a NATO-compliant system for their air defense system,” Lord said during the same press conference, according to USNI News.)