Washington is set to proceed with a $23 billion sale of F-16 warplanes, missiles, and bombs to Turkey following Ankara’s acceptance of Sweden’s NATO bid.
The sale would see as many as 40 of the latest-gen Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70/72 aircraft, 79 upgrade kits, and hundreds of bombs and missiles toward the NATO ally’s fleet.
US ambassador to Turkey Jeff Flake described the sale as a “great step forward.” He said, “Turkiye’s F-16 fleet is critical to NATO’s strength, ensuring future interoperability among Allies.” The sale was approved by the Biden administration two weeks ago.
F-16 sales to Turkey were tied to Sweden’s acceptance to becoming a member of the NATO military alliance, something that hinged on Turkey and Hungary’s final approval following months-long delays. But Bloomberg has still noted that “strains remain over Turkey’s use of Russian air defenses.”
Turkey accepted Sweden’s bid last month, ending a 20-month delay. Now, the Scandinavian nation only has Budapest in its way.