Ankara was unceremoniously booted out of the F-35 fighter programme in July 2019 after refusing to give up on its Russian-made S-400 air defence systems. The Pentagon claims the S-400 is incompatible with NATO air defence standards and says it poses an unspecified potential threat to the F-35.
The timely production of key components for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation multirole combat aircraft has been put out of whack thanks to US lawmakers’ decision to kick senior development partner Turkey out of the programme, Breaking Defense has reported, citing a fresh report by the Government Accountability Office.
Turkey’s decision to buy Russian-made S-400s led Washington to halt the delivery of F-35s to the country, and to threaten the allied nation with sanctions. US officials also indicated that Turkey would not get access to the Patriot missile system so long as the S-400s were deployed in the country. This week, US special representative for Syria engagement James Jeffrey said the S-400 issue is the biggest snag to normalized relations between Washington and Ankara.
The production bottleneck caused by the halt in Turkish parts deliveries has been further aggravated by the fact that contractors have developed a habit of being late with parts deliveries, the GAO says. According to the Defence Contract Management Agency, a Pentagon agency responsible for administering DoD contracts, “between August 2017 and July 2019, the number…