What will Turkey gain from the F-16 deal with the United States?

20 days ago

Analysis

As Turkey’s long saga to purchase F-16 fighter jets and modernization kits is nearing completion, experts say Turkey's defense establishment will make additional gains from the deal.

Turkey - Figure 1
Photo Al-Monitor

Argentina's Minister of Defence Luis Petri (R) arrives in a Danish F-16 aircraft at Skrydstrup Airport, Denmark, prior his meeting with Denmark's Minister of Defence on April 16, 2024. - BO AMSTRUP/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images

June 23, 2024

Turkey has many good reasons to seek the Lockheed Martin F-16 “Fighting Falcon” multirole jet fighter from the United States, even as it explores backup options in case it cannot acquire the aircraft on a sensible timeline.

The US State Department announced June 6 that Turkey signed the draft letter for the estimated $23 billion purchase of the most advanced version of the F-16s, the Block 70, also known as “Viper.” Turkey will acquire 40 new F-16 Block 70 Vipers and roughly 80 modernization kits to upgrade its aging aircraft to Viper levels.

Turkey - Figure 2
Photo Al-Monitor

The deal comes after monthslong negotiations between Ankara and Washington following Turkey’s approval of Sweden’s NATO membership in January, and it is expected to include additional items such as air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground ordnance, sensors and targeting pods.

Following Turkey’s expulsion from the program that manufactures the fifth-generation stealth F-35 aircraft in 2020 — for which several Turkish firms were also producing parts — over its purchase of Russian-made S-400 air defense systems, it might appear strange, even imprudent, for Ankara to trust Washington on such a critical defense matter ever again. But defense industry experts who spoke to Al-Monitor point out that, while Turkey should indeed approach the deal with caution, a close look at the political-strategic calculus of the purchase, as well as some of the finer technical matters, sheds light on several benefits for both Turkey and the United States. 

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.

Read more
Similar news
This week's most popular news