Due to CAATSA Sanctions, Turkey Has Difficulty Strengthening Its Fighter Jet Fleet

Due to CAATSA Sanctions, Turkey Has Difficulty Strengthening Its Fighter Jet Fleet
The active duty 388th and Reserve 419th Fighter Wings conducted an F-35A Combat Power Exercise with 52 aircraft at Hill AFB, Utah, Jan. 6, 2020. 388th Fighter Wing photo via Facebook.

International Military - In the midst of the tense situation between the United States and Russia, it seems that there are still many countries that need their new military fleet to strengthen their country. One of them is Turkey.

With only its F-16 fighter jets, this hampers Turkey's ambitions to have a strong military. even neighboring Greece has bought Rafale fighter jets as its new military fleet. This shows that it is time for Ankara to step up in military terms.

As is known, Turkey failed to have the F-35. The country was rejected by the United States and expelled from the F-35 program. This is because Turkey had chosen the S-400 air missile from Russia.

The CAATSA sanctions also came to him and made Turkey lose the opportunity to have the world's leading fighter aircraft. However, some reports indicate that discussions on the deal are not completely halted, but that there has been no progress. Thus, it will take at least a decade for the Turkish Air Force to field a capable fifth-generation aircraft, be it self-owned or imported.

Who would have thought, apart from the F-35, that Turkey could also be denied permission to buy 40 new F-16 Block 70 and 80 modernization kits that it requested from the US in October 2021.

According to the Eurasian Times, the sale faced strong opposition from members of Congress who are critical of Turkey's expansion of relations with Moscow. In addition, the F-16 fleet serves as the backbone of the Turkish Air Force.

In November last year, reports indicated that talks on the strategic F-16 were ongoing, but that there was also no progress in that area. The frustration in Ankara is palpable as it is aggressively seeking alternatives to US stealth fighters as its fighters are getting older by the day.

In October last year, Ismail Demir, head of Turkey's Presidential Defense Industries, said Ankara could buy Russia's Su-35 and Su-57 stealth fighters if the US freezes F-16 sales.

However, such a move would almost certainly result in additional US sanctions against Turkey under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions (CAATSA) for buying sophisticated Russian military hardware.

It could also limit Turkey's European options for modern fighter jets. Opportunities to buy the Rafale, a 4.5th-generation fighter that could serve as a stop-gap option before Turkey can launch its own futuristic stealth fighter are also bleak. Turkey's arch-foe Greece recently bought Rafale fighter jets from France but Turkey buying Rafales or France selling its main fighter jets to Ankara looks bleak.

However, it is possible that the Saab Gripen E, a 4.5-generation jet made in Sweden, could be Turkey's only alternative to the Rafale and Typhoon. Although there is currently no clarity regarding the Gripen acquisition that has been carried out

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