U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 30 the United States was continuing to evaluate how it would respond to Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems. "We continue to evaluate how to apply sanctions in order to achieve our end objective," Pompeo said.
The U.S. Air Force is officially purchasing eight F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighter jets that were initially intended for Turkey prior to its removal from the joint strike fighter program. The U.S. removed Turkey from the F-35 joint strike fighter program in July 2019 over Ankara's decision to buy Russian-made S-400 air defense systems.
Turkey was removed from the list of "global participants" on the official website for the United States' F-35 fighter jets. Turkey's participation in the supply chain was suspended following Ankara's purchase of the Russian S-400 defense system.
Four U.S. senators have penned a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper saying that Turkey's expulsion from the F-35 supply chain needs to be expedited, regardless of what the cost is. They said that the Defense Department's delay regarding the matter “has undermined the effectiveness of our clear message to the Turks.”
The United States will continue working with Turkish companies producing some parts of F-35 fighter jets until 2022, Turkey's state-owned Anadolu agency quoted a Pentagon spokeswoman as saying on July 1. "Our industry partners will carry out the continuing contracts," she said, adding the Pentagon was still looking for alternatives to Turkey.
A U.S. congressional watchdog group has warned that Turkey’s suspension from the F-35 program "will likely further complicate existing supply chain challenges." "The program has identified new sources for 1,005 parts produced by Turkish suppliers, but the program is assessing the effect of 15 key parts not currently being produced at the needed production rate," the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report on May 12.