The U.S. will continue to buy parts for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from Turkey through 2022, despite Ankara's purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system billed as an "F-35 killer" by Moscow, the Pentagon's top acquisitions official said Thursday.
The Trump administration in July 2019 banned Turkey from participation in the multinational F-35 program. But the Defense Department had to continue buying Turkish-made parts to maintain production, said Ellen Lord, DoD's Under Secretary for Acquisition and Sustainment.
Turkish factories currently make more than 900 parts for the F-35's center fuselage, cockpit display systems and other components, Lord said, adding that a complete cutoff in December as initially planned would result in about $1 billion in replacement costs that would slow down production of the aircraft.
"So, we made a decision on a number of parts that it was smarter in terms of taxpayer dollars and warfighter readiness to let those contracts play out in Turkey so that we wouldn't have these huge termination liability costs," Lord told the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on readiness and management support. "So, we have a few of the [Turkish-made] products that will go until 2022." (end of excerpt)
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