Washington authorizes Ankara to purchase F 16 Vipers and ammunition

Washington authorizes Ankara to purchase F 16 Vipers and ammunition for $23 billion Zone Militaire

Washington authorizes Ankara to purchase F 16 Vipers and ammunition

After pretending to turn to Russia to modernize its air force and then mentioning its interest in the Eurofighter Typhoon, Turkey will finally receive F-16 Vipers [la dernière version du chasseur-bombardier de Lockheed-Martin] to compensate for the exclusion from the F-35 program? American President Joe Biden had linked this issue to Sweden joining NATO, with Ankara in some ways raising the stakes to give the green light.

The latter has now been taken over by the Defense and Security Cooperation Agency following the Turkish parliament's vote on January 23rd [DSCA]responsible for the export of American military equipment using the so-called FMS procedure [Foreign Military Sales]has just released a statement recommending that Congress approve the possible sale of 40 F-16 Vipers as well as 79 older generation F-16 conversion kits used by the Turkish Air Force for an amount of $23 billion accepted to Ankara.

This sum also covers the delivery of a large amount of ammunition, including 401 AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, 952 AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM missiles and 864 GBU-39/B bombs.

“The proposed sale will allow Turkey to strengthen and modernize its F-16 fleet, the oldest of which are nearing the end of their service life. With these new and renovated aircraft, the country has a fleet of modernized multi-role combat aircraft designed to enable it to defend its airspace, contribute to NATO missions, maintain regional security and defend NATO allies. “NATO and maintaining interoperability with the United States,” reasoned the DSCA.

It remains to be seen whether such arguments will convince the US Congress, where the sale of F-16 Vipers to Turkey is far from unanimous. Some elected officials have regularly denounced Ankara's “belligerent” stance toward Greece as well as Turkish operations against the Syrian Kurds, allies of the United States in the fight against the Islamic State. [EI ou Daesh]. However, influential Senator Bob Menendez [démocrate]who was very opposed to the idea of ​​this possible treaty at the time, recently had to resign from his position as chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee due to a corruption scandal.

However, before issuing an opinion, the DSCA informally reviews Congress to avoid a possible rejection that would have negative consequences. In April, Turkey was granted permission to modernize at least its F-16s under a contract then worth $259 million. This was to improve their avionics, their automatic ground collision avoidance system [AGCAS] and their multifunctional information distribution system [MIDS BU II].

As a reminder, the F-16 “Viper” has Link 16, an active antenna radar [AESA] APG-83 SABR, Advanced Mission Computer, center pedestal display [affichage de suivi de terrain] and improved connectivity. Greece has already been authorized by the US to convert 85 of its F-16s to this new standard.

Note that while waiting for the green light for the F-16V, the Turkish Ministry of Defense has launched the ÖZGÜR program, which aims to modernize the F-16 Block 40/50 by equipping it with an active antenna radar MURAD AESA and a new locally developed mission computer will be equipped.