Sunday, June 09, 2019

Turkey considers Russian Su-57, Chinese J-31 jets to replace F-35s

via AHAVALNews.
Ankara prioritises S-400s over F-35 fighter jets as the missile systems are seen as an urgent need due to regional tensions, the daily said.

“The B, C, D plans are ready in case the F-35 project goes to the dump after S-400 purchase,” Yeni Şafak said. Turkey will sustain its air force by increasing the maintenance of existing aircrafts, while it will escalate efforts to produce its own jets, according to the pro-government newspaper.

“To sit at the table with Russia for the accusation of military aircraft is among the options. The security bureaucracy is also exploring Chinese J-31s, along with Russian Su-57s,” it said, adding that those options were also more cost-effective compared to F35s.

“Ankara already thinks that even if F-35s are delivered, they will create serious security risks for Turkey as they are directly commanded by the United States. Therefore, nobody regrets ‘losing’ F-35s,” the daily said.

Mehmet Barlas, a columnist of the pro-government daily Sabah, on Sunday also suggested immediately ordering Russian jets, without waiting for U.S. sanctions that can be imposed under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

Tyler Rogoway and Joseph Trevithick said in an article they penned for The Drive automotive website last month that Moscow had stated it had been ready to work with Turkey on the export and production of their Su-57 advanced fighter jet to fill the void of the U.S.-produced F-35s.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in April that Turkey could buy aircrafts elsewhere, when asked about Ankara’s possible expulsion from the F-35 programme.

“There are (Russian) Su-34, Su-57 and others. I will absolutely meet my needs from somewhere until I can produce it myself,” Çavuşoğlu said.
Story here. 

A few random thoughts on this article.

*  The Chinese would probably PAY Turkey to put the J-31 into service.  I believe they desperately want to be seen as having a plane that is a viable alternative to the F-35.

*  If the Russians end up selling their airplane to the Turks then they will be putting that plane in a glass container.  I can easily see every sensor system we have turned to it to gather any information possible.  What I wonder about is whether we would see the US continue with its basing agreement in Turkey. If the agreement remains (doubtful) then I'm betting F-35s are suddenly off limits when it comes to be stationed there.

*  Is this ego over substance?  I'm not just throwing stones at the Turk govt either.  I'm wondering if this applies to the US too.  Has a simple disagreement suddenly exploded into something more than it had to be? I'm hardly an expert and have limited visibility on the "real vs fake" with this issue but this thing didn't come out of nowhere.

*  Turkey is pushing hard for homegrown development of weapon systems.  They're not alone.  Give it another 5-10 years and we're gonna see the "hardware" of weapons being built inside home countries and different electronics being forced to at least be assembled in country too.  De-globalization seems to be hitting the defense industry.

*  What does Turkey know that other partners don't?  For them to make such a stand over the S-400 seems strange.  I asked earlier if they were acting from a position of ego.  What if they aren't?  Could they have done an in country assessment and decided that the F-35 was perhaps flawed in ways we don't know?  The Turks have to understand that Greece MIGHT pay for a squadron of F-35s.  Are they telling us that they view the S-400 as being capable of shooting them down?  I don't know but if they're acting rationally instead of from ego or anger then we should be concerned.

Over the past month (and more) I've been watching this whole thing play out and thought for sure one side or the other would back down. 

I was wrong.

I'm sure there are plays being made behind closed doors that we're not aware of so this thing bears watching.

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