Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews, a US Defense Department spokesman, said a decision had been made in late 2019 "to honour existing contractual arrangements and accept delivery of parts that were already on contract."

The F-35 is a game-changing stealth fighter jet produced through an international effort to reclaim technological superiority over Russia and China.  (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
The F-35 is a game-changing stealth fighter jet produced through an international effort to reclaim technological superiority over Russia and China. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File) (LM OTERO / AP)

The US will continue to depend on Turkish manufacturing for key parts of F-35 fighter jets through 2022.

A Bloomberg reported on Tuesday cited a Pentagon official who said Turkish defence contractors would supply key components including the fighter jets centre fuselage and 139 parts of the engine propulsion system.

Although Turkey is still banned from buying F-35s after purchasing Russia’s S-400 air defence system, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews, a Defense Department spokesman, said a decision was made in late 2019 "to honour existing contractual arrangements and accept delivery of parts that were already on contract."

Andrews emphasised that the aim is to "avoid costly, disruptive and wasteful contract terminations."

The decision was mentioned in the Government Accountability Office's report in May, the report said.

Andrews added that alternate sources "have been identified for all Turkish-made parts and will be utilised as the Turkish contracts lapse and material is delivered."

Read More: Why is Turkey buying the Russian S-400 missile defence system?

Turkey is a global leader in aerospace manufacturing, and 10 Turkish companies were on track to manufacture about $12 billion worth of F-35 parts, including the center fuselage produced by Turkish Aerospace Industries, according to a 2018 analysis by Bloomberg.

Read More: Turkey's F-35 removal 'likely to compound' programme woes

Turkish companies produced 817 of the jet's approximately 24,000 airframe part types and 188 of approximately 3,000 engine part types, according to Pentagon data.

Turkey's acquisition of the S-400 prompted Washington to remove Turkey from the F-35 fifth-generation joint strike fighter program in July. 

The US maintains that the system could be used by Russia to covertly obtain classified details on the jet and is incompatible with NATO systems.

Turkey, however, has countered that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.

Source: AA