Source: TR DEFENCE
Chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a critical Defense Industry Executive Committee (DIEC) meeting today finally wrapped up Turkey’s long-awaited decision to place an order for 5th generation stealth F-35s.that will become the new frontline fighter of the Turkish Air Force.
The decision was delayed last year with Turkish authorities citing “uncertainty of costs”. Turkey is expected to eventually order between 100 to 120 F-35s, some of which will replace Turkey’s ageing fleet of F-4 and F-16 aircraft.
Turkey hopes to use the F-35s in unison with its indigenous TF-X fighter planned for maiden flight in 2023, country’s centennial as a modern republic.
Continuing to expand Turkey’s spy satellite network was another significant decision from the meeting. Within the framework of this decision, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) will continue its design efforts for Gokturk-3, Turkey’s first indigenous SAR satellite, as well as other future satellites in the Gokturk series.
Turkey launched its first high-resolution reconnaissance satellite, Gokturk-2, to space from China’s Jiuquan launch facility in 2012. Construction of the second satellite by Italy’s Telespazio with even higher capabilities, Gokturk-1, is scheduled for launch in late 2014.
Being a radar-based observatory, Gokturk-3 will allow the Turkish Air Force to gather images day and night, without being affected by clouds and adverse weather for the first time.
DIEC has also awarded Selah Makine shipyards new contract negotiations for the construction of two logistics support ships, Ares shipyards to build an undisclosed number of SEAL insertion boats, and MTA to procure two propulsion systems for the Turkish Navy’s Ada-class (also known as Milgem) corvettes.
A press release by SSM, Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, following the DIEC meeting also revealed that Turkey is continuing to negotiate with China on its strategic T-LORAMIDS high-altitude missile defence system that has stirred a lot of heat with NATO and Turkey’s Western allies over security and compatibility issues.
China’s HQ-9 had previously beat US, European and Russian contenders in the multi-billion dollar T-LORAMIDS program. For the negotiations to be finalized and finally awarded, China must meet Turkish military requirements by the end of June.
Defence analysts expect China to win the lucrative tender with HQ-9s price point, improved capabilities and China’s willingness to share technology with Turkey.