Turkey has expressed interest to assemble Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70 fighter, reports say.
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has conveyed to Lockheed Martin that it wants to take part in the new F-16 supply point.
“If they allow, we can assemble the F-16s,” TAI General Manager Temel Kotil was quoted as saying by Defence Turk Wednesday.
Experts from the U.S.-based company visited Turkey to investigation.
Ankara’s request to add 40 new F-16 Block 70/72 jets to its Air Force’s fighter fleet and buy 80 modernization kits for old ones has been in troubled waters ever since it bought S-400 missile systems from Russia. The said deal even cost Turkey a spot among elite countries chosen to take part in producing components for the F-35 Lightning II, and an opportunity to buy them.
Turkish manufacturers are currently upgrading old F-16 Block 30s to Block 70 level, and this includes adding MGB mission computers, a new console with a multi-functional color screen, IFF Mod 5/S “friend-foe” system that is similar in capabilities to NATO’s KY58 and KY100, and a MURAD AESA radar.
The country’s Air Force is poised to receive the first upgraded F-16 this year.