Lockheed Martin Debuts Turkey’s First F-35 [PHOTOS]

The red carpet was rolled out and bright lights shone as Turkey and United States joined together to reveal the latest F-35 presentation at Fort Worth’s Lockheed Martin. Government officials and dignitaries from both the United States and the Republic of Turkey celebrated the debut of the F-35A Lightning II fighter jet for the Turkish Air Force on Thursday, June 21.

“We have with us distinguished guests and officials from across government and industry from the Republic of Turkey to the United State of America,” said Marillyn Hewson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive officer of Lockheed Martin. “Few nations have played such a pivotal role in history as Turkey. Over the past decade Turkey has been an important and valuable ally for NATO, for the United States, and for the cause of Global security. At this roll out, we present one of the most powerful symbols ever of what these nations can achieve together, the F-35A Lightning II.”

F-35A Lightning II is a fifth-generation, stealth, multirole fighter plane. Eleven customers have received their first aircraft to-date, including the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps. U.S. Navy, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Australia, Norway, Israel, Japan and South Korea.

“The F-35 program is the result of relationships built over decades of collaboration and shared commitment,” Hewson said. “This is a moment was made possible by an old vision put forth by the partner nations of the F-35 program. That vison was to protect the lives of our citizens and to strengthen global security with un-paralleled fifth-generation aircraft. As we look around the world, the need for strong and effective alliances is clear and urgent. We look out on a world filled with threats, some old, some new and all evolving at an extraordinary pace in the 21st century. These threats touch every domain. On land, at sea, in the air, in space and in the cyber-world.”

The Turkey F-35A Lightning II is one of the most cutting-edge fighters on the market.

“No aircraft and no other technology will be a more decisive and strategic tool in the decades ahead than the F-35,” Hewson said. “With its stealth, speed and survivability and un-rivaled flexibility and its increasing affordability, the F-35 is a game-changing technology for countering modern threats. We know from the collaborators and participants of the F-35 program, it strengthens the economy for the different nations and facilities job creation.”

“It is my great pleasure to be here for this spectacular event and have the opportunity to address such a distinguished group,” Major General Reha Ufuk Er from the Turkish Air Force said. “I can assure you that all Turkish armed forces share this excitement. Turkey has the most capabilities to insure to the contribution to global safety. The F-35 aircraft is a great asset. The F-35 is set to become the major fighter aircraft of the Turkish air force.

“We are opening a new chapter in the Turkish Air Force history.”

The Republic of Turkey has been instrumental to the success of the F-35 program. They have been involved in the project for many years.

“The Republic of Turkey knows the value of the F-35 first hand,” Hewson said. “Building on more than 25 years of partnership on the F-16 Fighting Falcon, Turkey joined the F-35 team during the development phase. These military and industrial partnerships are an important part of the foundation between Turkey, the United States, and Allied Nations. Today’s ceremony is yet another example of how the F-35 program serves as a bridge between nations.”

Major General Reha Ufuk Er echoed Hewson statements of the effects on debuting the aircraft to Turkey.

“I strongly believe this will further deepen our corporation and collaboration efforts,” he said.

The Turkish pilots will begin training on the F-35 aircraft within two months.

Doug Wilhelm, vice president of customer programs for Lockheed Martin, said the roll out ceremony is way to show the follow through of the F- 35 program.

“The F-35 absolutely contributes to global security,” Wilhelm said. “It’s capabilities of collecting information and sending it to help strengthen all elements of the United States and our allied forces.

“We are incredibly proud of our roll in producing F-35. We are in an exciting time in the F-35 program. We are now delivering to all of our customers, and it’s an enormous pleasure for us to be a part of that.”

You can view photos from the rollout ceremony below:

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Written by Tricia Sims