US Demands Turkey To Pay US$30 Mln Compensation for “Technical Maintenance” of F-35s
In 2022, Washington reportedly asked Turkey for compensation amounting to US$30 million due to the "necessity" of storing the six Turkish F-35 fighter jets after the Mediterranean nation was suspended and conducting technical maintenance on the aircrafts in 2022.
(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — The United States reportedly have asked Turkey to pay US$30 million (RM135 million) as compensation for the necessary technical maintenance it undertook on six F-35 fighter jets owned by the Mediterranean nation, which are currently stored in North America.
These six aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, could not be delivered to Turkey after the Mediterranean country was suspended from the aircraft program for defiantly acquiring Russia’s S-400 air defense system.
According to Turkey’s news outlet “Aydinlik,” all the F-35 fighter jets are stored in hangars in the United States, but due to their sophistication, they require ongoing maintenance incurring high expenses.
Consequently, Washington has Ankara for the compensation.
Washington initiated the request for a compensation payment of US$30 million from Ankara for the “necessity” of storing and carrying out maintenance on these six Turkish F-35 fighter jets in 2022.
So far, the Turkish government, led by President Recep Tayyep Erdogan, has said it will not comply with Washington’s request for the US$30 million compensation.
Turkey joined the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighter jet development program as early as 1999, with the NATO member committed to purchasing 100 units of the F-35A variant from Lockheed Martin.
As a development partner, Ankara has contributed US$1.4 billion (RM5.4 billion) towards the development costs of the fighter jet, while its companies are responsible for producing approximately 900 replacement parts in the industrial partnership program.
After being suspended from the F-35 program, Turkey requested the United States to reimburse its investment.
Turkish companies involved in the fighter jet development program are reported to have contributed around US$9 billion (RM40.5 billion) to the Mediterranean country’s economy.
Turkey’s first F-35A aircraft was officially launched in the United States in 2018 in a grand ceremony, followed by five more fighter jets, which are currently in “storage” in the country.
However, in 2019, Turkey was officially “expelled” from the F-35 fighter jet program by Washington due to its insistence on proceeding with the purchase of the Russian-made S-400 air defense system.
Senior officials in the United States Department of Defense reportedly stated that the F-35 fighter jets cannot “coexist” with the S-400 air defense system, classified by Washington as a Russian “intelligence gathering platform.”
Senior U.S. officials believe that Russia could use the S-400 air defense system to study the stealth capabilities of the F-35 fighter jets.
“The majority of the F-35’s strength lies in its stealth capabilities, so the ability to detect these stealth aspects affects the long-term safety of the F-35 program. We just want to ensure the long-term safety of the fighter jet program,” said a senior official in the U.S. Department of Defense.
Not only was Ankara removed from the F-35 aircraft development program, but the Mediterranean nation also faced military restrictions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
CAATSA is a U.S. federal law imposing military sanctions against the country’s adversaries, including Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
Meanwhile last week, the United States expressed its willingness to “welcome back” Turkey into the fifth-generation F-35 fighter jet program, even though the two countries are still in conflict over Ankara’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense system.
Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland conveyed this during an interview with CNN Turk in Turkey.
“If we can resolve the issue of the S-400 air defense system (purchased by Turkey from Russia), where we (the United States) want to resolve it.
“The United States is very happy to welcome Turkey back into the F-35 family. If we can overcome this issue, the CAATSA issue will disappear, and we can return to discussions about the F-35,” she said. — DSA
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