Turkey puts IAI Phantom talks on hold as Lebanon war raises anti-Israeli sentiment

London
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This story is sourced from Flight International
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The Turkish ministry of defence has halted negotiations with Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) on a potential follow-on programme to upgrade an additional 40-50 Turkish air force McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantoms.

The war in Lebanon has raised anti-Israeli sentiments in Turkey and Israeli sources say that the atmosphere is "not right" for additional arms deals with Israel to be agreed.

IAI is the prime contractor for the current F-4 upgrade programme that began in the late 1990s, which includes 26 fighters that were upgraded at the Israeli manufacturer's facilities and another 28 that are being upgraded by the Turkish air force with kits supplied by IAI.

Talks on the follow-on programme began in mid-2004. The Turkish air force recently began to evaluate the purchase of additional Lockheed Martin F-16s as an alternative.

Embraer has presented a proposal to the Turkish government to sell the country 36-55 EMB-314 Super Tucano trainers. The proposal includes a technology transfer and industrial participation programme involving local defence companies.

Raytheon has withdrawn its T-6 Texan II from the Turkish air force's primary trainer contest, leaving the Super Tucano and Korea Aerospace Industries' KT-1 remaining in the competition.