The US Defense Department (Pentagon) has delivered a report to Congress detailing implications of Turkey receiving 100 F-35 fighter jets, removing a key hurdle to concluding the deal.
Turkey’s planned purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system has raised concerns in the West since it could be used to give Moscow deep insight into the vulnerabilities of the most advanced US warplane at a time of tension between the two powers, experts have said. In line with this concern, US President Donald Trump signed in August a motion suspending the sale of the jets to Turkey for 90 days.
Turkey last month said it was moving ahead with the controversial S-400 procurement and expected to begin installing the surface-to-air missile systems in October 2019.
The United States has repeatedly warned Turkey that going through with the purchase of S-400s could result in Washington imposing sanctions and halting other weapons deals, such as the F-35, but Ankara has pressed on with the Russian transaction.
Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s chief arms buyer, told Reuters in an interview that Turkey’s plans to buy the S-400 system were ‘extremely problematical’ and numerous US officials had discussed the issue with Ankara, but there were no signs that Turkey had changed its mind about buying the Russian system.