Turkey has decided to delay the purchase of its first two Lockheed Martin F-35s by one year, citing technical factors and a "high cost yield".

The Turkish government approved an initial two-aircraft purchase on 5 January 2012, before launching talks with Lockheed to finalise a deal. However, an order for the pair has been put on hold because the technical capabilities of the aircraft are "not at the desired level yet", the nation's Undersecretary of Defence Industries procurement agency says. Ankara still intends to buy 100 of the combat aircraft in the long term, it notes.

According to budget figures released in 2011, Ankara's eventual 100-aircraft F-35 programme should cost about $16 billion. Its plans call for two aircraft to be delivered in 2015 to support pilot training activities in the USA, with subsequent examples to arrive in Turkey from 2016.

Source: Flight International