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Turkey Received Delivery Of Its First F-35 Aircraft

Turkey Undersecretariat for Defence Industries // June 30, 2018

Turkey, being a program partner under the F-35 project since its inception in 1999, received delivery of its first aircraft in a ceremony held in Fort Worth, USA. The F-35 aircraft, which the Turkish defense industry sector is actively involved in production, will remain in the USA for a while for the training of our pilots, and will start to arrive to the duty posts in our country starting from November 2019. 

Within the scope of the F-35 project, acknowledged as one of the most important consortium projects in the world and in which our country has participated in the Concept Demonstration Phase (CDP) in 1999, System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase in 2002, and in Production Sustainment and Follow on Development (PSFD) phase in 2007, Turkey received delivery of its first F-35 aircraft in a ceremony held at Lockheed Martin facilities in Fort Worth, Texas, USA.

Deputy Undersecretary Serdar Demirel who gave a speech at the ceremony said "Turkey has provided the strongest contribution to this program since its beginning and has allocated significant resources to this partnership. In addition, participation of the Turkish industry contributes significantly to the cost effectiveness of the program. While Turkey is continuing to serve the global peace and security as a reliable and stable NATO ally, F-35 will help protect our country's territorial integrity and the security of our nation for the future generations.”

Lockheed Martin President and CEO Marillyn Hewson stated that today they are honored to present the first F-35A aircraft to the Republic of Turkey and said: “For our partner nations, the advanced capabilities and technologies of this aircraft are truly transformational, and we are confident that for decades to come the F-35 will play a decisive role in enhancing global security around the world.”

The first F-35 aircraft received is also the first 5th Generation Combat aircraft to enter the Turkish Air Force Command inventory. Turkey is planning to buy, extending to years, 100 F-35 aircraft which will create a multiplier effect on the operational efficiency of the Air Force Command with its superior capabilities as low observability, sensor technologies and radar system. In this context, 30 aircraft have already been ordered.

The F-35 Project, in addition to increasing the deterrence of the Turkish Armed Forces and meeting the requirement of the Turkish Air Force for a next-generation fighter, is creating new business opportunities for Turkish Defense Industry companies and is allowing our firms to take part in the global supply chain of a fifth-generation air platform such as the F-35. Parts produced by Turkish industrial companies, including Alp Aviation, Ayesaş, Kale Aerospace, Kale Pratt & Whitney and TAI, have been installed on all aircraft since the first F-35 as well as on our own aircraft delivered today.

In this context, the center fuselage, center fuselage composite and metallic parts, inlet duct skins, air-to-ground weapon pylon are being produced by TAI; Rear Hub for F135 engines, nickel and titanium discs, landing gear, brake system and aircraft structural parts are being produced by Alp Aviation; panoramic cockpit display and missile remote interface unit components by Ayesaş; aircraft fuselage and wing structural parts by Kale Aerospace; various engine parts for the F135 engines by Kale Pratt & Whitney. Parts produced for the world's biggest defense companies such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, GE Aviation, Pratt & Whitney, Marvin Engineering, L3 and UTAS are being delivered on time conforming with the requirements of high quality and cost-effective.

The first received F-35 aircraft with tail number 18-0001 will be assigned to Luke Air Base in Arizona for use in pilot training. Activation work is already continuing at the Malatya 7th Main Jet Base Command which will be the first base where the F-35 aircraft will be deployed in Turkey and which also will host the Integrated Training Center where the pilot and maintenance training will be provided. Training activities will begin in country in 2020 following the arrival of the first aircraft in Turkey in November 2019.