Eurofighter, which recently lost out to Lockheed Martin in a multibillion-dollar deal with Turkey, is again pitching its Typhoon fighter jet to Ankara. “The Typhoon would be a perfect complementary solution if the Turkish Air Force is to maximize its air deterrence,” said Enzo Casolini, vice president for Alenia Aeronautica, the Typhoon consortium partner assigned to market the plane to Turkey. “We expect Turkey to join our new phase. Turkey’s decision to choose the JSF [Joint Strike Fighter] does not exclude the Eurofighter option.” The new effort may turn on national elections, planned for July 22. During last year’s competition, Turkey’s civilian government con-sidered buying about 80 F-35 JSFs and 20 Typhoons. But the Air Force and the military command opted for a JSF-only solution.One Ankara-based military analyst said that if Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party wins the legislative elections in July, it likely will support business with Eurofighter.In January, Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding to become one of nine partners in the production phase of the F-35 Lightning II, or JSF. Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul said Turkey is planning to buy 100 F-35s, worth nearly $10.7 billion over 15 years. And in May, Turkey signed a $1.85 billion contract to buy 30 F-16 Block 50 fighters as a stop-gap solution until the F-35s start arriving in 2014 or 2015. “The Typhoon has been disqualified from the Turkish competition. I hope the decision will not be permanent,” Lorenzo Forcieri, undersecretary for Italy’s Defense Ministry, said in Ankara. “It wouldn’t be wise if Turkey depended on a single country for a fighter solution.”Meanwhile, the Typhoon partners, who also include European defense giant EADS, its Spanish partnership EADS CASA and BAE Systems, are sweetening the deal.Eurofighter officials said they are offering significant production in Turkey, including manufacture of some main components, system design responsibility, final assembly, flight testing, full independence on aircraft operability and full local logistical support.Turkey is being invited to join the Tranche 3 phase of the Eurofighter program, which is planned to cover 236 aircraft for Germany, Spain, Italy and Britain, and whose ongoing negotiations are to be wrapped up in 2009. “The Typhoon option for Turkey will be on the table until at least 2012,” Casolini said.Company officials said in late May that they would soon begin preliminary negotiations with the Turkish Air Force.“We don’t rule out a future Eurofighter buy,” said one Turkish procurement official.Turkey’s fighter aircraft presently include nearly 215 older F-16s and 90 Vietnam War-era F-4Es. By 2020, all these aircraft will have to be decommissioned.“Under the present plans, we will be operating about 100 F-35s and 30 F-16 Block 50s after 2020, and the total number of aircraft will be 130, which is less than half of the current figure of over 300,” said one Turkish military official. “That means in any case we will need more fighters in the future.”Analysts said it is almost certain that Lockheed Martin also would seek to sell additional fighter aircraft to Turkey.

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