Friday, December 1, 2023

US Senate suspends F-16V delivery to Turkey, threatening Sweden's NATO membership

Against the advice of the White House, the American Senate suspended the delivery of new F-16V fighters to Turkey, even if it meant threatening Swedish membership in NATO.

The announcement of an agreement between Turkey and Sweden regarding the latter's membership in NATO, on the sidelines of the Vilnius summit, was received very positively by all Western chancelleries. However, attentive observers of this issue knew that many obstacles could still emerge before Stockholm could join the Atlantic Alliance.

The ambient enthusiasm was quickly dampened by the announcement, barely hours after the previous one, by President RT Erdogan, according to which the application for membership would not be transmitted to the Turkish parliament until the parliamentary resumption , that is to say in October.

This timetable leaves ample time for the country's authorities to negotiate the compensation expected for this change in posture, whether vis-à-vis the United States or the Europeans, and above all to return to the commitment made if the requirements Ankara were not satisfied.

Indeed, although having clarified that the two subjects were in no way linked, the Biden administration had announced, for its part, that it would support the sale of 40 F-16V combat aircraft as well as 80 kits allowing the evolution of as many aircraft towards this standard, to the Turkish Air Force, for an amount estimated around $20 billion, ammunition and spare parts included.

The F-16V Block 70/72 is the most modern version of Lockheed-Martin's single-engine fighter. It notably carries an AESA AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) radar.
The F-16V Block 70/72 is the most modern version of Lockheed-Martin's single-engine fighter. It notably carries an AESA AN/APG - 83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR)

The fact is, across the Atlantic, it is Congress, and more particularly the Senate, which has the final word regarding authorizations to export military equipment, and not the executive as in France. And several members of the American Senate have shown themselves, in the past, to be more than circumspect about Washington's interest in delivering these devices to Ankara.

Since the ousting of Turkey from the F-35 program, and the cancellation of the order for 100 aircraft placed by the country's authorities, the Turkish air forces have struggled to modernize, especially because of the actions of the armies in Syria, but also in the Aegean Sea, Libya and the Caucasus, other more extensive sanctions have been put in place by the Senate in recent years.

LOGO meta defense 70 Türkiye | Military alliances | Fighter aircraft

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Fabrice Wolf
Fabrice Wolf
A former French naval aeronautics pilot, Fabrice is the editor and main author of the site. His areas of expertise are military aeronautics, defense economics, air and submarine warfare, and Akita inu.

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