A potential decision by the United States to remove Turkey from the F-35 program over its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system may have only minimal impact on the fighter jet’s industrial base, a senior U.s. Air Force official said Tuesday.
President Donald Trump has yet to determine what steps the Defense Department may take if Turkey moves forward with the S-400 buy. However, Heidi Grant, the Air Force’s deputy undersecretary for international affairs, said Pentagon analysis shows there won’t be a catastrophe if Turkey is forced from the program.
“While it will have some impact on the F-35 program, I don’t think it’s going to be any type of devastating impact if … there’s a policy decision that they are no longer a partner,” Grant told reporters in a Dec. 4 roundtable interview just weeks before she puts a cap on a 16-year career with the Air Force.
On Jan. 7, Grant will take over as head of the Defense Technology Security Administration, the Defense Department’s lead agency for ensuring that sales of weapon systems to foreign nations will not endanger U.S. technological advantages. As director of DTSA, Grant said she expects to play “an even more active role” on the question of whether to export the F-35 to Turkey.
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