The Turkish and US governments have signed a letter of offer and acceptance covering the production of a further 30 Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 50+ fighters for the Turkish air force.

To be delivered between mid-2011 and late 2012 under a deal worth $1.8 billion, the aircraft are to undergo final assembly in Ankara by Tusas Aerospace Industries, which previously completed 278 F-16C/Ds for the Turkish and Egyptian air forces between 1986 and 1999.

Turkey's new aircraft - 14 single-seat Cs and 16 two-seat Ds - will be powered by General Electric F110-129 engines assembled by Turkish Engine Industries and equipped with Northrop Grumman's APG-68(V)9 radar and the Aselsan/Mikes SPEWS 2 electronic warfare system. Turkish industry is expected to secure offsets worth around 50% of the total programme cost.

The Turkish air force's current F-16 fleet comprises 176 Cs and 43 Ds, according to Flight's MiliCAS database. The legacy fleet will also be upgraded to the Block 50+ configuration under a separate modernisation deal agreed with Lockheed (Flight International, 3-9 May 2005).

Ankara's new and modernised fleet of F-16s will be joined by the Lockheed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from around 2014, says defence minister Vecdî Gönül.

F-16 Turkey
©Lockheed Martin
 Turkey's Block 50+ F-16s join a legacy fleet of more than 200 aircraft


Source: Flight International