U.S. Approves 40 F-16 Aircraft Sale to Turkey Worth $23B

President Biden urged Congress to swiftly approve the F-16 sales upon Turkey's ratification of Sweden's NATO membership.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 05:38 AM, January 27, 2024
  • 977
U.S. Approves 40 F-16 Aircraft Sale to Turkey Worth $23B
Turkish F-16 combat aircraft @Turkey's state media

The United States State Department has officially approved a Foreign Military Sale to the Republic of Turkey, totaling an estimated $23 billion.

The sale includes the acquisition of 40 new F-16 aircraft, along with modernization kits for 79 existing F-16s. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has provided the necessary certification, notifying Congress of the approved sale.

The approval follows a prolonged delay in the sale process, attributed to Turkey's ratification of Sweden's accession to NATO. The delay, lasting over a year, had strained relations within the alliance, with Turkey expressing concerns about Sweden's perceived support for Kurdish separatists. However, this week, the Turkish Parliament ratified Sweden's NATO membership bid, allowing the sale of the F-16s to proceed.

President Joe Biden, emphasizing the urgency of the F-16 sales, had urged Congress to approve them "without delay" once Turkey ratified Sweden's NATO membership. Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stressed that his approval was contingent on Turkey's endorsement of Sweden's NATO membership. Cardin acknowledged the gravity of the decision, highlighting the need for Turkey to address human rights concerns and hold Russia accountable for its actions in Ukraine.

The approved sale involves a comprehensive package, with Lockheed Martin, based in Greenville, SC, named as the principal contractor. The proposed equipment includes 40 new F-16 aircraft, modernization kits, engines, radar systems, electronic warfare suites, munitions, and various support elements. The State Department emphasized that the sale aligns with U.S. foreign policy goals and enhances the air capabilities and interoperability of a NATO ally, contributing to regional security and defense.

The proposed sale will enable Turkey to modernize its F-16 fleet as older aircraft approach the end of their service life.

In a related move, the U.S. State Department also informed Congress of its approval for the sale of 40 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters to Greece, Turkey’s regional rival, at a cost of $8.6 billion.

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