Turkey Successfully Overcomes Political Obstacles to Procure F-16 Block 70 Fighter Jets from the US
After facing political obstacles, Turkey’s procurement of F-16 Block 70 fighter jets has finally been given the green light. The 15-day silence period in Congress has been completed without any objections, allowing the process to move forward.
The US Department of Defense Pentagon announced a foreign military sales (FMS) notification for the sale of the F-16 Block 70 package to Turkey, totaling a maximum of 23 billion dollars, on January 26, 2024. In order for the sale to proceed, the US Congress had to raise no objections within a 15-day period.
During this review and objection process, only one objection was brought to the agenda. A bill submitted by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but no further action was taken, clearing the way for the sale.
With the completion of the congress process, there are no longer any political obstacles for the sale of F-16 Block 70 warplanes, which Turkey requested in September 2021 due to urgent operational needs. The Ministry of National Defense will now enter negotiations with the US Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin to determine the scope, amount, and delivery schedule of the F-16 package.
The notification covers the sale of 40 F-16 Block 70 fighter jets, 79 F-16 Block 70 modernization kits, and various accompanying equipment. The first F-16 Block 70 fighter jet delivery to Turkey is expected to be completed 3-4 years later, but the modernization of existing Turkish F-16s can be achieved within 1-2 years.
Additionally, Turkey has requested an ‘off-set’ within the scope of the sale, aimed at ensuring a business share for Turkish defense industry companies. The demand will also be a subject of negotiation in the upcoming talks.
Overall, Turkey has successfully cleared political obstacles and is now ready to move forward with the procurement of F-16 Block 70 fighter jets, signaling a new chapter in Turkey’s defense capabilities.