Turkey has sought 40 new F-16 Fighter Jets from the U.S., plus modernization kits for its existing F-16s even as the conflict with Washington over the purchase of Russian S-400 Air Defense System continues.
The deal has yet to be approved by the U.S. State Department and the Congress. It is still working its way through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process, Reuters reported citing sources.
"As a matter of policy, the department does not confirm or comment on proposed defense sales or transfers until they have been formally notified to Congress," a spokesperson for the State Department said.
Worth billions of dollars, the deal will likely have a difficult time getting a nod from the States, taking into consideration Turkey’s purchase of S-400 missile systems from Russia. The S-400 contract led to the U.S. denying Ankara F-35 Lightning II fighters (100 of which it had planned to buy) and kicking it out of the project. There are also sanctions under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) being imposed on Turkey for the Russian deal.
Turkey’s move coincides with the recent deal struck by its arch rival Greece to acquire Rafale jets and frigates from France. The Hellenic Air Force had also sought to modernize their F-16 fleet to the “V” or Viper configuration for $270 million, a request that has already received a nod from the U.S. The Viper integrates advanced capabilities to better interoperate with fifth-generation fighters, including the F-35 and the F-22.