Pentagon Moves Closer To Cutting Turkey’s Role In The F-35 Program If It Buys S-400 SAMs

The U.S. government could reportedly reexamine Turkey?s participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program if that country goes ahead with its purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia. But even if that particular issue is resolved, there could still be major hurdles in unfreezing deliveries of the jets to the Turkish Air Force.

The potential for a change in Turkey’s status as a central partner in the Joint Strike Fighter project was among the core statements in a two-page unclassified summary of a report the Pentagon had submitted to Congress regarding the issue on Nov. 15, 2018, which Bloomberg obtained. As part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2019 Fiscal Year, members of Congress included a demand for Secretary of Defense James Mattis to submit a report by the end of 2018 detailing, among other things, the risks associated with Turkey?s planned purchase of the S-400s and the impact on the F-35 program if Turkey was to stop being a participant. It is not immediately clear if this summary had come attached to the report or if Congressional staff had produced it afterward.