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US clears F-16 upgrade tech for Turkey after Finland joins NATO

Turkey's F-16 upgrade moves forward
Photo: Turkish defense ministry

The US State Department has approved the potential sale of technology equipment to Turkey for the upgrade of its current fleet of F-16 aircraft.

Included in the sale approval are software upgrades of the Operational Flight Program (OFP) avionics with the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (AGCAS) capability, while hardware modifications would enable integration of the Multifunctional Information Distribution System Block Upgrade II (MIDS BU II), which would be procured separately.

The potential deal could cost up to $259 million and was approved by the US after Turkey eased its stance on NATO, dropping its objections to Finland joining the alliance.

Turkey continues to object to Sweden joining the alliance, effectively vetoing Sweden’s accession as unanimous approval is required for a country to join.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve Turkey’s interoperability with NATO and ensure safety of flight for Turkey’s existing F-16 aircraft,” the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said.

The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company of Fort Worth, TX.

Turkey is looking to upgrade its F-16 fleet as it continues work on its locally-developed next-generation fighter program. The country was forced to launch the TF-X fighter program after the US kicked it out of the F-35 program over its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems.