Turkey's role in the production of F-35 fighter jet parts will continue to decline in 2021 and 2022, said Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell, Sputnik's Turkish service reported on Jan. 12.
Campell made the comments during an interview with Russian media outlets. He recalled that Ankara’s membership in the aircraft development program is still suspended.
“There are no changes in US policy regarding Turkey’s status in the F-35 program. Turkey’s membership in the F-35 program has been suspended. Most of the components’ production was moved [to other countries] in 2020, and it will continue to decline in 2021 and 2022,” Campbell said.
Turkey was both a parts manufacturer and major buyer of the Lockheed Martin F-35s. However, its acquisition of the advanced S-400 Russian air defense system prompted Washington to remove Ankara from the F-35 program in 2019.
U.S. authorities later announced that they would allow prime contractor Lockheed Martin to honor existing contractual obligations with Turkish manufacturers for the components of F-35 fighter jets. That meant Turkey would continue to serve as a supplier of F-35 parts for another two years.