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The Turks are searching for "patents" to keep their F-16s running

Turkey will upgrade its F-16 fighter jets to significantly extend their life cycle, the head of the Defense Industries Presidency (SSB), Ismail Demir, said on Sunday.

"The structural upgrades of the F-16 Block 30 aircraft continue. "In the project, 1,200-1,500 pieces of structural components per aircraft are being renovated and repairs and replacements are being carried out, if necessary, with body reinforcement," Demir wrote on Twitter.

Demir added that with the project, which is being carried out by TUSAŞ Engine Industries (TEI), the Turkish Armed Forces aim to increase the life of F-16 aircraft from 8,000 hours to 12,000 hours.

Turkey has the TF-X National Combat Aircraft (MMU) program, a joint project of the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and SSB, preparing for a maiden flight using a domestic engine in 2029.

The MMU is a fifth-generation fighter with similar characteristics to Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II. The domestic aircraft is being developed to replace the F-16 fighters before the latter is phased out during the 2030s.

Due to the gradual decommissioning of F-16 fighter jets over the next decade, the importance of the TF-X project has increased, especially as the US has also suspended the delivery of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, removing it from the program.

Washington has withdrawn Turkey from the F-35 Lightning II program, arguing that the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system acquired by Turkey could be used by Russia to obtain classified information on Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft. , while in addition it is incompatible with NATO systems.

Turkey, however, insists the S-400 will not be integrated into NATO systems and will not pose a threat to the alliance. It follows from the above that Turkey until 2029 intends to rely on its existing F-16s, which it will even modernize ... itself, with its own patents.

But this will create a huge air imbalance in our favor in the Aegean, especially with the purchase of the French Rafale fighters and the conversion of our F-16s into vipers, which will be the most advanced on the F-16 side, making it prohibitive for the Turkey thoughts of conducting military operations with Greece for the coming years.

This should be taken very seriously by in the discussions on exploratory contacts between us, if and when Turkey is not further strengthened by air, unlike us.

Finally, it remains to be seen whether and to what extent the references to the controlled Turkish press, either for the purchase of Eurofighter or another fighter, or the reinforcement of Turkey with new S-400 anti-aircraft systems.

The first is more likely than the second, since in the event of the purchase of additional S-400 anti-aircraft weapons, Turkey-US relations would go from bad to worse.

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