07:36 GMT +322 February 2019
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    F-35 Lightning II fighter jet

    Turkey Puts Army Modernization Back on Track With Second Batch of F-35s

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    Turkey’s Defense Industry Executive Committee, a nation’s top procurement body, has decided to purchase a second batch of F-35 Lightning II fighter jets as part of the renewed army modernization program which is back on track after July coup attempt.

    Turkey’s Defense Industry Executive Committee, also known by its Turkish acronym SSIK has decided to purchase a lengthy list of aerial, maritime and ground vehicles as its has decided to put the army renewal program back on track after the failed coup attempt, according to Defense News. The Committee’s meeting, attended by Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, Defense minister Fikri Isik and Army General Hulusi Akar, chief of the General Staff, took place Friday, October 30th.

    The group officially announced they will place an order for a second batch of the notorious F-35 Lightning II fighter jets under the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. Under JSF program, Turkey seeks to purchase a total of 116 jets, with first aircraft due to be delivered in 2018. Turkey command intends to fully renovate its jet fleet by replacing all the older aircraft with F-35s and its own TFX jets by 2023.

    Turkey also intends to purchase two command and control aircraft, which could act either as a flying HQ or as a VIP business aircraft for top military brass. It is yet unknown whether the aircraft will combine both lush interiors and dozens of high-tech monitors and other military hardware, but it is known that the cost of one airplane is expected to be between $50 million and $100 million.

    The committee also stated it intends to procure an undisclosed amount of vessels for Turkish navy and to start a contest for the modernization of 25 SH-70B Seahawk helicopters.

    “Some of the other programs its members discussed on Friday include the Integrated Maritime Surveillance System (IMSS) program; the foundation of a cybersecurity and defense center; electronic warfare command, control and coordination efforts; a national joint electronic warfare data bank; new-generation light-armored vehicles; procurement of portable jammers; and electronic support systems”, reads Defense News website.

    This is the first substantial effort to put the Turkey’s modernization program back on track after it came to an almost full stop following the failed coup attempt earlier in July.

    “Finally the shock is over and things are picking up,” one official told reporters on conditions of anonymity. “Both the government and military leaders look determined to get things done without further delays.”

    F-35, Turkey's Defense Industry Executive Committee, Hulusi Akar, Fikri Isık, Binali Yildirim, Turkey
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