Ankara will receive its first F-35 fighter jet from the US in June, Turkey is expected to purchase more than 100 of the jets under a multinational program led by the US. The first 30 jets will be delivered to JSF program members in a ceremony in the US on June 21.
As part of the US Department of Defense’s Joint Strike Force (JSF) program, Turkey and several other NATO member states are upgrading their fleets to include the new F-35. The multi-billion-dollar project has been marred by technical faults and delays.
Turkish pilots will later take part in training exercises with US arms giant Lockheed Martin, the F-35’s main developer before the new jet is delivered to Turkey.
Ties between the US and Turkey have continued to sour over rival stances on the war in Syria and the US refusal to extradite Fethullah Gulen to Turkey over his alleged role in masterminding the 2016 coup. Turkey has defended its rights record, saying the country faces terrorist threats from alleged coup plotters in the Gulen movement and the PKK