US may resume supplying F-35 to Turkey. Kirby: Abandon Russian S-300 and S-400
John Kirby (Photo: EPA)

White House National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby said that the United States is ready to resume Turkey's program to upgrade to modern F-35 fighter jets, but only if Ankara removes Russian S-300 and S-400 air defense systems from its inventory, according to his briefing.

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The White House National Security Council Coordinator said that the US position remains unchanged.

"The F-35 program for Turkey is incompatible with its use of S-300 and S-400 missile systems," Kirby emphasized.

He also noted that negotiations with representatives of the Turkish government on the modernization of the Turkish Armed Forces are currently underway.

"If Turkey is able to address our concerns in this regard, then the process of transitioning to the F-35 program could resume," Kirby said.


Earlier, on January 30, US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in an interview for CNN Turk also emphasized that the sanctions of the Anti-America Countermeasures Act (CAATSA) were related to the decision of the Turkish government to purchase S-400 air defense systems from the Russian Federation.

She noted that the US was negotiating the sale of the Patriot air defense system, but "Turkey went in another direction."

" Frankly, if we can resolve this S-400 issue, which we want to do. The USA would be pleased to welcome Turkey back into the F-35 family," Nuland stressed. She also added that if the countries can resolve this issue, the CAATSA sanctions will be lifted and Turkey and the US "can return to F-35 conversations."

In April 2021, official Washington imposed sanctions against Turkey's state defense structure SSB based on CAATSA. The statement states that after August 2, 2017, Turkey carried out "a deliberate large-scale operation with an organization that is part of the defense/intelligence sectors of the Russian government or works on its behalf."

The F-35 is an American-made aircraft that is part of the fifth generation of fighter aircraft. It is an innovative fighter model whose main functions include the performance of several tasks. The goal of the developers was to create a fighter that would be capable of performing a short takeoff and vertical landing. Main technical characteristics: climb rate (above sea level) – 240 m/s; cruising speed – 850 km/h; practical ceiling height – about 15 km; total flight time – 2 hours 30 minutes; number of crew members – one person. The lighter version of the F-35A fighter can also be a carrier of tactical nuclear weapons and has a cannon. In addition to the United States, F-35 operators include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Poland, Italy, Japan, Norway, and a number of other countries.

It is known that Ankara requested F-16 fighter jets from the US in October 2021. The $6 billion deal included the sale of 40 aircraft, as well as kits for the modernization of 79 combat aircraft already in service with the Turkish Air Force. However, in the US Congress, the possibility of such an agreement was conditioned by a number of requirements, in particular, Ankara's approval of Sweden's application to join NATO.

On December 18, 2023, the Turkish president said that Turkey's ratification of Sweden's accession to NATO depends on the US Congress's approval of Ankara's request to purchase F-16 fighter jets, and called for both legislatures to act "simultaneously".

On January 25, 2024, Flake, the US ambassador to Turkey, said he expects President Erdogan to give final approval to Sweden's NATO membership within days, prompting swift steps towards US Congressional approval of the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara.

On the same day, Erdogan officially approved Turkey's ratification of Sweden's NATO membership.