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Cablegate: Turkey Remains Committed to Joint Strike Fighter

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

191451Z Nov 04

UNCLAS ANKARA 006481

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MASS TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY REMAINS COMMITTED TO JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER
PROJECT

REF: NOVEMBER 10 EDITION OF JANE'S DEFENSE WEEKLY

1. Dr. Faruk Ozlu, Deputy Undersecretary of Turkey's national
defense procurement agency (Savunma Sanayii Mustesarligi -
SSM), in a November 12 discussion with PolMilCouns and Deputy
PolMilCouns, dismissed press reports (including reftel) that
Turkey was considering withdrawal from the Joint Strike
Fighter (JSF) program due to unhappiness with Turkey's
workshare. According to Ozlu, Turkey was reviewing its
current Air Force fleet, comprised of F-4 and F-16 jets, in
anticipation of a potential procurement of up to 100 JSF
planes, to determine how many F-4s and F-16s should be
upgraded to meet Turkey's interim needs before the first JSF
planes roll off the assembly line in 2015, and to finalize
the number of JSFs it would need and the timing of their
delivery. (Comment: Current JSF SDD phase program planning
calls for Turkish aircraft deliveries to start in 2013.
Actual production deliveries will be determined when the JSF
US/Turkish Bilateral production and sustainment MOU is
negotiated and signed. End Comment.) Turkey had already
signed an LOA with the US for an F-16 upgrade. The
government would like to upgrade some of its F-4 fleet but no
decision had been made on whether to extend the current
contract with Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) or to seek new
proposals. Turkish Air Force Command (TAFC) favored
extending the IAI contract while SSM was arguing that the
additional work should be put out for competitive bids. In
the end, the government would decide, he said.

2. (SBU) Ozlu said it would be difficult for Turkey to leave
the JSF program at this point, but did acknowledge the
government's unhappiness with its current JSF workshare.
Compared to other countries, including Italy and the
Netherlands, Ozlu recognized Turkish industry was at a
disadvantage. Nonetheless, he stated that Turkey considered
its current JSF workshare to be the "weak point" in its
participation. Recognizing that a potential government
expenditure of eight billion dollars on JSF planes would
create difficulties for the government if the Turkish
workshare was inadequate, SSM was working with Turkish firms
to increase their competitiveness
EDELMAN

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