F-35 aircraft: stop USA to train Turkish pilots and technicians
Next move the exclusion from the aircraft program? In the center, the S-400 node
Only a few days ago Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated that he did not want to withdraw from the agreement for the purchase of the Russian anti-aircraft missile system S-400 (see AVIONEWS), an agreement that has broken relations between Ankara and Washington and worried NATO, since the S-400s are considered incompatible with the western defense system because they constitute a danger for F-35 fighters. According to reports in these hours the American press here is the countermove: the Pentagon has decided to block the training of Turkish pilots to run these fifth-generation Lockheed Martin fighters. At the moment, local newspapers write, at Luke Air Force Base, where the Air Education and Training Command is based, in Phoenix, Arizona, at least four Turkish pilots are being trained, as well as around twenty technicians and maintenance staff. The US Department of Defense intends to suspend all types of training, both future and ongoing ones. The retaliation is added to the threat to exclude Turkey from the F-35 program, of which Ankara is both buyer and developer. An eventual exclusion would heavily penalize among other things also the Turkish industry which builds different components of the aircraft, the engine hardware and the central fuselage -including the arms compartment doors. A potential damage that would certainly not be alleviated by the possibility offered by Russia to produce some components of its S-400 in Turkey. Just as unsatisfactory is the alternative of acquiring the Patriot system offered to Ankara by the United States.
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