Turkey to Establish a Combat Squadron of F-35 Joint Striker Fighters
Defense Industry Executive Committee (SSIK) gathered under the presidency of Prime Minister Mr. Binali Yıldırım at the edifices of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries to review important agenda items. Prime Minister Mr. Binali Yıldırım, Minister of National Defense Mr. Fikri Işık, Chief of General Staff Full General Hulusi Akar, Undersecretary for Defense Industries Prof. İsmail Demir and the defense authorities participated in the meeting that lasted for approximately 6 hours.
As it was the first meeting under the Prime Minister Mr. Binali Yıldırım’s presidency, the officials of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries initially gave a briefing on the mission, tasks and procurement functions of the Undersecretariat as well as on the latest status of the defense industry support fund and updated the Prime Minister. Following the briefing, the determined items of the agenda were submitted to the committee and a total of 12 items were resolved.
Following the meeting, a written statement was made public by the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries and the resolution on the second party order of F-35 Joint Striker Fighters was regarded as the most newsworthy resolution of the meeting. Upon this resolution, the second party orders - which will be sufficient for forming a combat squadron when added to the previous first party order of 14 F-35 JSF composed of 2+4+8 aircrafts – have been placed. It was stated that Turkey increased the number of its F-35 JSF orders as the operational capabilities of the F-35 A configuration reached a certain level of maturity, the majority of the Block 3F software tests were completed and the expectation of a relative price advantage was created in unit costs as a result of the accumulation of the bulk orders placed by the joint countries. Moreover, in the statement, it was noted that the manufacturing of the first two aircrafts, ordered in May 2014, was launched and that they would be delivered in accordance with the previously announced program schedule which is May 2018. Second party orders are anticipated to be delivered in years the 2021- 2022.
One of the important resolutions adopted in the meeting was the procurement of various vessels as per the requirements of the Naval Forces and the modernization of the Seahawk helicopters. The improvement of the 25 Seahawk helicopters within the inventory of the Naval Forces Command is planned to be accomplished within the scope of this modernization.
Additionally, at the SSIK meeting, Electronic Support (ED) System Project, Portable Jammer System Acquisition Project, Development of the New Generation Light Armored Vehicle Power Group Project, National Joint Electronic Warfare Databank Project (MMEHBB), Electronic Warfare Command, Control and Coordination System (EHKKKS) Project, Turkish Armed Forces Cyber Defense Center (SİSAMER) Project, Multispectral Camouflage Systems (Camouflage Net and Mobile Camouflage) and Command Control Aircraft (KKU) Logistic Support Projects were decided upon to be realized and the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries was authorized for the launch of the contract negotiations.
Moreover, the decision for increasing the resources allocated to R&D studies concerning the advancement of level of technology for the acquisition of product based sub-systems, components and technologies was adopted.