F-35 program on track to replace Turkey, say Pentagon officials

Trump has not yet decided whether to impose congressional sanctions on Turkey for the S-400 purchase


Since removing Turkey from the multinational F-35 program over its purchase of a Russian air defense system, the U.S. has found alternate suppliers for all but a dozen components Turkey is producing for the Lockheed Martin-made fighter jet.

As U.S. President Donald Trump met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House on Wednesday, the Pentagon’s F-35 program executive testified in Congress that he expects Turkey will be phased out on schedule, by March 2020. Lockheed and Pratt & Whitney, he said, have “spectacular progress” finding alternate suppliers.

“We began just over a year ago, very quietly but deliberately, taking actions to find alternate sources for all of those parts,” said the program executive, Lt. Gen. Eric Fick. “We are not quite there yet, so we have, on the airframe side, 11 components we have to mitigate to be at full-rate production … and on the engines, there’s one: integrated bladed rotors, IBR’s.”

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