The Trump administration’s decision to remove Turkey from the F-35 stealth jet program will cost the Department of Defense between $500 million and $600 million, according to Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s acquisition chief.
The White House announced Wednesday that Turkey was losing its right to purchase the stealth jet due to its acquisition of a Russian anti-aircraft system. “Unfortunately, Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible,” the White House said in a statement. “The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities.”
The costs are driven by the need to finding new manufacturers for the roughly 900 parts currently produced by 10 Turkish companies for use on the F-35. Turkey, which had been expected to purchase 30 F-35s and has pilots training in the U.S., has been a partner on the stealth jet project and paid a small share of the developmental costs.
Turkey had also been expected to host an engine maintenance site for the F-35. The Turkish pilots and maintenance personnel currently in the U.S. were ordered home Wednesday.