by Staff Writers
Ankara (AFP) Jan 11, 2013
Turkey said Friday it has postponed an order to purchase its first two US-made F-35 fighter jets due to technical problems and rising costs, but said it still intends to buy 100 more in the long run.
"Due to the current state of the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter)...and the rising cost..it was decided to postpone the order placed on Jan 5, 2012 for the two aircraft," the Undersecretariat for Defence Industry (SSM) said in a statement.
The SSM, the public body responsible for Turkey's arms purchases, said the decision was taken because the technical capabilities of the aircraft were "not at the desired level yet."
After the initial purchase of the two jets, Turkey plans to order 100 units of the stealth fighter to replace its current fleet consisting mainly of F-4 Phantoms and F-16 Falcons, according to the statement.
Turkey is one of nine countries that are part of a US-led consortium to build the F-35 fighter. The others are Britain, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, Norway and Denmark.
The development of the stealth fighter has been plagued by technical problems that have prompted some countries to cancel, scale back or defer purchases.
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