- Most of the DoD's F-35 supply chain will be out of Turkey by March
- This shows the US is serious about removing Turkey from the F-35 programme because it acquired the Russian S-400
The majority of the Pentagon's Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) supply chain will be out of Turkey by March as the United States continues to remove Turkey from the programme for buying the Russian S-400 air defence system.
Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defence for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters on 14 January that prime contractor Lockheed Martin and F135 engine supplier Pratt & Whitney have a handful of contracts that will likely carry out to the end of 2020. She did not elaborate on these contracts. Pratt & Whitney deferred comment to the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), which, along with Lockheed Martin, did not return a request for comment prior to publication.
The Pentagon has not changed its position from August 2019 that Turkey had a limited opportunity to rejoin the F-35 programme - only if it completely divested the S-400.
"Turkey has not decided to make any movement on the S-400," Lord said at a Defense Writers Group breakfast. "So we continue to transition the work out of Turkey."
The Pentagon will spend between USD500 million and USD600 million to shift part of the programme's supply chain out of Turkey. Nearly 900 aircraft parts, including the centre fuselage and the cockpit display, are produced in Turkey.
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