F-35 Program Leadership Changes as Turkey’s Future in Program Uncertain (excerpt)
(Source: USNI News; posted July 15, 2019)
By Ben Werner
THE PENTAGON --- The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program’s civilian and military management are in the midst of a changeover just as government officials from the U.S. and partner countries are considering ejecting Turkey from involvement in the aircraft’s manufacture and deployment.

Last week, Air Force Lt. Gen. Eric Fick relieved Vice Adm. Mat Winter as the F-35 program manager. With the program manager position switching from the Navy to the Air Force, the F-35 program’s civilian service acquisition executive also switched from the Air Force to the Navy. James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, is now overseeing the program.

“I look forward to taking an active role as the service acquisition executive for the F-35 and working with Eric and his team, those in the department, international partners and Congress to deliver and sustain this lethal capability our military needs to compete and win,” Geurts said in a statement.

Occurring as the Navy and Air Force swapped F-35 program leadership roles, Turkey, an F-35 program partner since its start in 1999, received its first shipments of a Russian-made air S-400 defense system. Pentagon officials and lawmakers have for months tried persuading Turkey against purchasing the Russian system, which they believe could be used to probe the stealthy F-35 aircraft for weaknesses and share this information with military planners in Moscow. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the USNI website.


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