While the negotiations on Turkey’s request to purchase new F-16 fighter jets from the USA continue, Ankara continues to seek alternatives to the possible “Congress obstacle”. The British-produced Eurofighter Typhoon option, which was previously discussed in Ankara backstages but not openly brought up, was voiced for the first time by Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın.
In order to close the gap that may arise in the Air Force due to its removal from the F-35 new generation fighter jet program, Turkey purchased 40 Blok 70 series F-16 fighter jets from the USA on September 30 last year, and modernization kits for the same series of 79 aircraft in the inventory. made a formal request to receive it. While the delegations of the two countries are negotiating on this issue, it is obligatory to notify the “foreign military sales” to the US Congress in accordance with the US law. If a bill is submitted to Congress to block this sale, the sale must be voted on by the House of Representatives and the Senate. Despite the stance of influential figures, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, against the sale, Ankara continues its optimistic expectation that it will receive approval from the US Congress. However, preparations are being made for the negative scenario.
Many messages have been given from Ankara to date that Turkey could go to different countries if its purchase is blocked in the Congress, and it has been said that warplanes can be bought from Russia. However, the Turkish Air Force, which does not have any Russian-made warplanes in its inventory, did not gain weight due to the training, maintenance and integration costs of such a purchase and possible problems with the West.
MESSAGE TO USA
It has come to the agenda recently that it is considering buying the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet produced in England in case the F-16 is not available in Ankara, but defense industry sources reported that this is not on the agenda. Presidential Spokesperson Kalın, in a live broadcast he attended the previous evening, stated that they expected a positive decision in a possible vote to be made in the US Congress for the sale of the F-16 to Turkey. There are also negotiations we are conducting about Eurofighter… Turkey will never be without alternatives,” he said.
These statements by Kalin revealed that Ankara also considered the option of Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets compatible with NATO systems instead of purchasing Russian warplanes, which had been on the agenda before and could cause bigger problems with the West, if the sale of F-16s did not take place. Ankara also aims to give the message “we are not without alternatives” to the USA by keeping the Eurofighter Typhoon option on the agenda.
MANUFACTURED IN ENGLAND
Eurofighter Typhoon is produced in England by a consortium of British BAE Systems, German-Spanish partnership Airbus Defense and Italian Leonardo companies. 4.5, including the F-16V model warplanes that Turkey wants to buy from the USA. Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes, which are in the second generation fighter aircraft class, are in the inventory of the air forces of Austria, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman, as well as England, Germany, Italy and Spain.