Turkey will receive two more F-35 fighter jets in March 2019 and the deliveries are as per the schedule, Vice Admiral Mat Winter, the military head of F-35 program said Monday.
There is no indication of a change in the delvery of Turkey’s 100 jets, Winter, the executive officer for the F-35 program was quoted as saying by Hurriyet Daily Tuesday.
The custody of the already rolled out first F-35 aircraft is still with the United States until it is transferred to partner countries and it normally occurs after the partner training is complete which will take approximately one to two years.
The prohibition of F-35 sales to Turkey will only take place when the Pentagon issues a report on Turkish-American relations. The Pentagon must submit a report to the Congress within 90 days of the 2019 Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)being enacted, Winter added.
The US senate approved the NDAA 2019 in June this year putting a question mark over the proposed sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.
"The Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the status of the United States relationship with the Republic of Turkey," the Act document stated.
According to the Act, "the Secretary of Defense may not take any action to execute delivery of a foreign military sale for major defense equipment" to Tukey until the report is submitted.
Separately, some 40 members of the US House of Representatives sent a letter in June to the US Defense Secretary James Mattis against the F-35 deal going through. "We must hold Turkey accountable for conduct that threatens US national security, undermines the interests of our partners and allies, and represents a broadside attack against fundamental democratic values," the lawmakers said.
"For these reasons, we urge you to take whatever steps necessary to prevent the planned delivery of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey," the letter had said.
Turkey is likely to face Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for buying Russian S-400 missile defense system.