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Biden Seeks U.S. Congress Approval for Sale of 40 F-16 Block 70, Modernisation Kits To Turkey

President Joe Biden administration is said to have drafted a letter addressed to the country's Congress, seeking authorization for the sale of 40 F-16 Block 70 fighter jets and 80 kits for the modernization of fighter aircraft to Turkey. The estimated value of this proposed transaction is US$20 billion (RM90 billion).

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — The administration of President Joe Biden is reported to have written a letter to the country’s Congress requesting approval for the sale of 40 F-16 Block 70 fighter jets and 80 fighter aircraft modernization kits to Turkey, estimated to be worth US$20 billion (RM90 billion).

The letter was sent after the Turkish Parliament passed legislation supporting Sweden’s entry into NATO, thereby confirming the Nordic country’s efforts to join the military alliance that had been deferred for 2 years.

Sweden will become the 32nd NATO member.

President Recep Tayyep Erdogan of Turkey needs to adhere to the protocol for Sweden’s entry into the military alliance, which must be officially announced in the Official Gazette before it takes effect.

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson of Sweden, through his social media account, stated that the approval from the Turkish Parliament brings “Sweden one step closer to becoming a NATO member.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the action taken by the Turkish Parliament and expressed hope that Ankara’s move would be followed by another NATO member, Hungary, which has not yet given approval for Sweden’s participation.

F-16
Turkey’s F-16

 

The effort to become a NATO member requires approval from all 31 member countries.

Turkey is the largest user of F-16s outside the United States, with 250 aircraft, most of which are domestically produced under the country’s defense industry license.

Following its attempt to purchase 40 F-16 Block 70 fighter jets and modernization kits, facing various obstacles from the U.S. Congress, Turkey stated its readiness to explore other fighter aircraft as an alternative.

Last November, Turkey initiated discussions to acquire 40 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets after its request for the latest variant of the F-16 Block 70 faced hurdles in the U.S. Congress.

Defense Minister Yasar Guler of Turkey stated that Turkey is negotiating with Britain and Spain regarding the purchase of Typhoon fighter jets, although Germany is somewhat reluctant to sell them to Ankara.

As a NATO member, Turkey is reportedly seeking to acquire the latest variant of the Eurofighter Typhoon to replace its aging F-4 Phantom fighter jets that need immediate replacement.

Typhoon

 It must act swiftly to replace its aging fighter jets, especially after being excluded from the development program of the fifth-generation fighter jet, F-35, by the United States.

Ankara was excluded from the F-35 program after pursuing the acquisition of the Russian-made S-400 “Triumf” air defense system.

To meet the requirements for modern fighter aircraft, Turkey has commenced the development of its own fifth-generation fighter aircraft called “KAAN,” but it is expected to be operational only in 2028-2029. — DSA

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