The second produced Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II, designated AF-1 (Image © Matthew Short/Lockheed Martin)

Turkey orders F-35A

First live-fire launch of a guided air-to-air missile by a F-35 Lighting II. (Image © USAF)
Captured here during a launch of a guided air-to-air missile is the F-35 Lighting II. Turkey is ordering two – for now. (Image © USAF)

Turkey is ordering two F-35A Lightning II aircraft from Lockheed Martin, the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industries announced on Tuesday 6 May. At the same time, Turkey is looking to establish a  combined final assembly line and maintenance center for the F-35’s Pratt & Whitney F-135 engine.

Turkey is a consortium partner in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program since the 1999 Concept Demonstration Phase. The country wants to meet the Next Generation fighter requirement of the Turkish Air Force and looks to utilize the Turkish industry’s production and assembly capabilities to the maximum as well. The current order is for two F-35A block 3F aircraft under the Low Rate Initial Production 10 (LRIP 10).

Countries taking part in program or otherwise interested in the F-35, are the US, UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Norway, Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Israel and Australia – the latter ordering 58 F-35’s just weeks ago.

In July, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II will publicly venture outside the US for the first time. The new fighter aircraft is exptected to take part in the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at Fairford in the UK, and to appear afterwards during the Farnborough International Airshow, also in the UK.

© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Elmer van Hest

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