Pentagon preparing to move F-35 work out of Turkey

US Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan warned Friday that the Pentagon will halt manufacturing support for the F-35 in Turkey if Ankara buys a Russian missile defense system.

Shanahan told journalists the government remained steadfast in its opposition to Turkey’s adoption of the S-400 anti-aircraft technology.

“If Turkey decides that the S-400 is a decision they want to go forward with, then we have to move work out of Turkey,” he said.

Shanahan noted that he had met with delegations from US aerospace manufacturers Lockheed Martin and United Technologies to discuss options if Turkey refuses to forego the S-400.

Washington has warned for months that Turkey’s adoption of Russian missile technology alongside US fighter jets would pose a threat to the F-35 and endanger Western defense.

As a member of NATO, Turkey is taking part in the production of the fighter jet for use by members of the treaty, and has plans to buy 100 of the jets itself.

A number of Turkish manufacturers are making parts and equipment for the F-35, including internally carried Stand-off Missiles, airframe assemblies and wiring, leaving the NATO program partially dependent on them.

Washington has placed a freeze on the joint manufacturing operations with Turkey, and has suggested that Turkey might be able to obtain a US missile defense system if it forgoes the one on offer from Moscow.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has insisted he will buy the Russian system.

Lockheed’s Sidekick adds increased firepower to F-35 fighters
Washington (UPI) May 3, 2019 -
Lockheed Martin has developed a new weapons rack — called a Sidekick — that allows the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter to carry six missiles instead of four.

Each of the two new weapons bays on the Air Force F-35A and Navy carrier-capable F-35C can carry three AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles, or AMRAAM, instead of the current two, the company told reporters Wednesday.

They are not compatible with the Marine Corps F-35B version, because of its smaller weapons bay.

“The extra missiles add a little weight but are not adding extra drag,” Lockheed test pilot Tony “Brick” Wilson said in the media briefing.

The fifth-generation fighter can carry up to 5,700 pounds of ordnance.

To maintain stealth, the F-35 stores weapons internally. In “beast mode,” the aircraft can carry a combined internal and external loadout of 22,000 pounds of weaponry, but doing so dials down the it’s stealth advantage.

The F-35 also has external structural capacity for hypersonic weapons.

On the F-35A and F-35C, racks currently carry two AIM-120 bombs, or one AIM-120 and a large bomb such as a 2,000-pound GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition. The AIM-120 bombs weigh approximately 335 pounds.

The upgrade is part of a 10-year Block 4 modernization program for the F-35. Lockheed worked with the Air Force Research Lab to develop and install the system F-35A six years ahead of schedule.

With the system already tested on the F-35A, the Navy plans to install the racks on the F-35C in 2021.

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Boeing awarded $5.7B for KC-46 Pegasus combat capability work

Washington DC (UPI) May 01, 2019

Boeing has been awarded a $5.7 billion post-production contract for combat capability for the U.S. Air Force’s troubled K-46 Pegasus refueling tanker aircraft.
The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract, announced Monday by the Department of Defense, includes non-recurring and recurring requirements centered on user-directed and Federal Aviation Administration-mandated KC-46 air vehicle needs.
The KC-46 fleet is planned to replace the Air Force’s Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers. … read more

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