The Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced that the U.S. State Department approved the sale of new F-16 fighters to Türkiye following the Turkish government’s ratification this week of Sweden’s membership in NATO.
The potential $23 billion deal awaits final approval from the U.S. Senate, as stated in a press release by the Pentagon’s top arms broker.
The deal encompasses the acquisition of 40 new F-16 aircraft and the modernization of 79 existing F-16 aircraft to V-Configuration, alongside associated equipment.
“The proposed sale will allow Türkiye to expand and modernize its fleet of F-16 aircraft as older F-16 aircraft approach the end of their service life. These new and refurbished aircraft will provide Türkiye with a fleet of modernized multi-role combat aircraft to enable it to provide for the defense of its airspace, contribute to NATO missions to preserve regional security and defend NATO Allies, and maintain interoperability with U.S. and NATO forces. Türkiye has F-16 aircraft in its inventory and will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft and services into its armed forces,” the announcement said.
The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin, Greenville, SC.
Turkey, a NATO ally, has long sought to enhance its F-16 fleet, and the approval of this sale was linked to its support for Sweden’s membership ratification. While the Biden administration backed the sale, certain lawmakers had raised concerns about human rights issues, including the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Jim Risch, R-Idaho. However, these objections have now been resolved, according to officials.