The United States National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2021 has authorized the Air Force to utilize, modify, and operate six Turkish F-35s that were manufactured but never delivered because Turkey was suspended from the F-35 program.
The NDAA, which is expected to be passed into law, will mean the official exit from the F-35 program for Turkey for continuing with the purchase and operation of the Russian S-400 air defense system (ADS).
The NDAA bill makes no mention of the $1.5 billion advance monies paid by Turkey to purchase the aircraft. Ankara has demanded a refund following the United States’ not delivering two aircraft as per the previously agreed-upon schedule.
Of the six aircraft, two were being used to train Turkish pilots when the row with the US broke out in 2018.