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Flashy F-35 Rollout Ceremony but Erdogan gets just a model for his desk

Lockheed Martin hosted a grant ceremony to celebrate its first completed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to be delivered to Turkey. Alas! The F-35 Fighter will not be tanked and not make it to Turkey. It will remain parked in US, and Turkish pilots will have to fly there for training. Reason for the no-delivery is the US Senate that blocks the sale because of Turkey’s plans to acquire Russian S-400 surface-to-air missiles systems.

“Rollout events for major new combat aircraft are often flashy, overwrought affairs, but the Lockheed Martin event to celebrate the delivery of Turkey’s first completed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was particularly over the top,” writes US website thedrive.

It featured “traditional music and song together with a dancer who performed at one point while wearing a pair massive leather wings that looked like something out of Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks.”

Watch first 5 minutes

During the ceremony, Lockheed Martin and Turkish Defense officials exchanged niceties and hailed their future cooperation.

Turkey reportedly vowed to continue its contribution to global peace and security as a credible NATO all.

“As Turkey continues to serve global and peace and security as a reliable and committed NATO ally, the deployment of F-35s will help the protection of our security and territorial integrity of our country for future generations,” Defense Industries Deputy Undersecretariat, Serdar Demirel, said.

Lockheed Martin CEO and President Marillyn Hewson expressed her honor in delivering the first f-35A to the Republic of Turkey. She said she was certain the F-35s would play a crucial role in enhancing global security, as this new generation sophisticated warplane will have a transformative role with its high technology and capabilities.

A number of Turkish companies have been producing some key parts of the F-35s in line with the memorandum of understanding the SSM signed with the Lockheed Martin in 2007.

Turkey is planning to procure around 100 F-35s. Thirty of them have already been contracted. With Lockheed Martin planning to ramp up to full rate production for the next ones, it is believed that Turkey will be able to deploy its new squadron by the end of next decade. The production process of an F-35 fighter is around 36 months.

According to the Lockheed Martin officials, the first F-35 will be deployed to Turkey in the third quarter of 2019 and it will be operational by the fourth quarter of 2020.

The first two F-35s will soon be transferred to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona where Turkish instructor pilots and maintainers will undertake a lengthy training program, scheduled to last more than a year.

Lockheed Martin officials leave aside the Turkey-USA spat, claiming these are “issues between the Turkish and American governments. These are issues between the two governments and not with Lockheed Martin.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted 86 to 10 against the F-35 sale.

For the time being, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has to find satisfaction with an F-35 model airplane on his desk…

or do some training with a paper model of F-35.

After, the elections on Sunday, of course.

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One comment

  1. Turkey cannot be allowed to obtain a 5th generation fighter like the F-35, given its current and historical ambitions of territorial expansion and NATO’s reluctance to intervene in a Greek-Turkish conflict. The balance of power would shift to Turkey in the event of an invasion of Greece, even with Turkey’s inferior pilots.

    Between the F-35 debacle and Russia’s assistance in offering nuclear power to Turkey, this could mean the end of the Hellenic Republic in the near future and become a flashpoint for World War III. One can only hope that Erdogan loses power at some point and more moderate leadership works with Greece towards a detente.