Israel worked behind the scenes lobbying the United States to drop Turkey from the F-35 program, Channel 12 reported on August 1. According to the report, this was carried out in the framework of th Israeli efforts to preserve its military qualitative edge in the region.
The US excluded Turkey from the program claiming that the S-400 missile defense batteries would aid Russian intelligence. Channel 12 reported that Israeli officials were similarly concerned that details of the F-35’s advanced capabilities would leak to neighboring countries.
Turkey had oredered more than 100 of the F-35s for some $1.4 billion and had been a major contributor to the program itself. Nonetheless, now, the delivery of the F-35 is under a big question.
Meanwhile, Israel agreed to purchase at least 50 F-35 fighter jets from the US defense contractor Lockheed Martin. So far, 16 aircraft have been delivered. The rest of the warplanes is slated to arrive batches of twos and threes until 2024.
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