F-35 Fighter Jets NATO Turkish Military Training in Russia U.S. Defense Department

Department of Defense Off-Camera Press Briefing on Turkey’s Participation in the F-35 Program – Conservative Base

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Reporters question Beneath Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen M. Lord and Appearing Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Coverage Andrew Winternitz


STAFF:  OK, so good afternoon, women and gents.  Thanks for joining us.  At this time, Underneath Secretary of Defense Ellen Lord and Mr. Andy Winternitz, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Europe and NATO are here on the report to discuss Turkey’s future participation in the F-35 program and continued military-to-military relations.  Ms. Lord has a gap assertion, and then we’ll go into questions.  We do have a hard cease at 1:30, so please be respectful together with your questions so everyone, if attainable, could have a chance.

Ma’am, over to you.

Department of Defense’s Ellen Lord.

UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ELLEN M. LORD:  Good afternoon.  Thank you for attending in the present day.

The unit — the United States tremendously values the U.S.-Turkey dialogue and our strategic partnership.  Nevertheless, the United States was dissatisfied to study that Turkey sent personnel to Russia for training on the S-400 system.  The S-400 is incompatible with the F-35.  As we’ve got very clearly communicated in any respect levels, Turkey won’t receive the F-35 if Turkey takes supply of the S-400 system.  Thus, we have to begin unwinding Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program.

None of the steps we’re taking are irreversible.  If Turkey chooses to forgo supply of the S-400, we look ahead to restoring regular program activity.  In keeping with our robust want to manage the unwinding of Turkey’s participation in an orderly, respectful and deliberate method, we’ve got charted a path that may permit enough time for Turkish personnel related to the F-35 program to be reassigned and depart the United States by July 31, 2019.

To facilitate an orderly cessation of Turkish participation in the programmatic administration actions of the F-35 program, Turkey won’t take part in the annual F-35 Chief Government Officer Roundtable on June 12th, and deliberate updates to the program’s governing paperwork will proceed with out Turkey’s participation.  If the United States and Turkey can’t reach a mutually-agreeable decision to this situation by July 31, all Turkish F-35 students and teacher pilots at present in the United States might be required to depart the nation.

The USA will transfer ahead with a plan to update to the manufacturing, sustainment and follow-on improvement memorandum of understanding with all partners besides Turkey.  Cooperative venture personnel at the F-35 Joint Program Office shall be reassigned no later than July 31.  At this level, all invitational travel orders will probably be canceled, and Turkish Air Drive personnel shall be prohibited from getting into JPO amenities.

The U.S. will proceed to suspend indefinitely F-35 materials deliveries and actions.  No new coaching will begin.  Turkey will receive no new workshare in the F-35 program.  Its current workshare might be transitioned to alternate sources as they’re certified and are available to price manufacturing.  This deliberate, measured strategy, meant to allow our Turkish counterparts to adjust to this transition, might be drastically accelerated if Turkey accepts supply of the S-400 prior to July 31.

Our F-35 international partnership is robust and resilient.  I most just lately met with our partners in April to discuss the challenges Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400 presents to our F-35 air system, and we have now been working in earnest for the final six months to develop and implement modifications to our supply base to accommodate the potential for Turkish suspension from the program.  Cessation of Turkish participation in F-35 coaching activities may have no influence on the bigger F-35 partnership.

These actions are meant to mediate risks posed by the S-400 to the F-35, and are separate from any congressionally-mandated, Russia-related sanctions beneath the Countering America’s Adversaries By means of Sanctions Act, or CAATSA.  There’s robust bipartisan U.S. congressional willpower to see CAATSA sanctions imposed on Turkey if Turkey acquires the S-400.

U.S. and Turkish protection officers, from the degree of the appearing secretary on down, proceed to interact on this concern.  The USA has despatched technical gadgets — I’m sorry, technical groups to Turkey and hosted counterparts here to debate the menace posed by the S-400; our mutual participation in the F-35 program, and the U.S. Patriot supply.

America has been in lively negotiations with Turkey over the sale of the Patriot Air and Missile Defense Methods since 2009 to satisfy its respectable air protection needs.  Ought to Turkey agreed to droop its S-400 acquisition, the United States is prepared to companion with Turkey immediately to review methods to reinforce Turkish safety and tackle allied considerations with Turkey’s S-400 purchase.  We search only to guard the long-term security of the F-35 program and the capabilities of the NATO alliance, together with Turkey.

Let me reiterate: Turkey still has the choice to vary course.  If Turkey does not accept supply of the S-400, we’ll allow Turkey to return to regular F-35 program activities.  Turkey is an in depth NATO ally and our military-to-military relationship is robust.  We have now a dedication to make sure the security of our NATO ally and help missions benefiting regional security and stability, together with present counterterrorism operations in the area.

STAFF:  Sir, did you’ve got anything that you simply’d wish to say?

The Defense Department’s Andrew Winternitz.

ACTING DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ANDREW WINTERNITZ:  Nicely, I feel I’ll simply — I’ll just begin off and — and say one thing very temporary earlier than, you already know, we go into Q&A.  However obviously, the United States enormously values the U.S.-Turkey relationship.  It’s a strategic relationship.  They’re our ally, and our relationship is multi-layered.  We’re doing rather a lot of things with Turkey across the — the complete spectrum of our — of our security relationship, and — and that’s — and that will not end at all.  That gained’t be influenced, we hope, by what’s going on right now with the S-400 and the F-35.

For instance, we’ll proceed doing bilateral, multilateral workouts.  There’s one arising referred to as Anatolian Eagle, which Turkey is internet hosting later this month, a multilateral train on interoperability and readiness, and we’ll proceed to participate in that.

And so, you realize, that is — the division’s actions right here on this concern relating to the F-35 are based mostly on the dangers that the S-400 presence in Turkey would have, and — and that’s type of the place we are on this.  So I feel I’ll depart it at that for now, and (inaudible)

STAFF:  OK, thank you very a lot, sir.

Phil?

Q:  So I just needed to ask, you recognize, the — the Turkish president has been very clear that he’s going to — he’s not going to back away from this acquisition of the S-400.  But what do any (inaudible) hold opening the door for Turkey and saying that they had a chance to vary course — do you might have any cause to be optimistic?  And is that this move at present just meant to point out that the — that the U.S. isn’t — isn’t bluffing here?  Or what is the objective?  As a result of the — the menace — and the conservatives have made, you already know, over and again and again.

MS. LORD:  Mmm hmm. This dialogue immediately is a component of an ongoing dialogue we’ve been having at many various ranges.  Secretary Shanahan and Minister Akar have had an ongoing dialogue including two conferences here in the constructing in the final couple of months.  And we just need to be very clear on what our place is, and be sure that the Turks perceive that we’re here to help them in air protection, but that the S-400 is incompatible with the F-35.

MR. WINTERNITZ:  I’d just add to that, that when — when Turkey began training on the S-400 in Russia, that was a — that was a sign that we would have liked to — to take motion as properly and present that we have been critical, and where our position is relating to the incontrovertible fact that the S-400 and the F-35 will not be going to function collectively.

Q:  And which nations — I’m sorry.

STAFF:  No, go ahead.

Q:  Which nations are going to take up the supply that Turkey just isn’t going to be (inaudible)?

MS. LORD:  Proper now, the U.S. has dealt with finding second sources, they usually’re predominantly U.S. sources.  That’s to not say we gained’t continue to do what we all the time do with good program administration and search for other sources, because we want to have second, third sources for most of the gadgets.

STAFF:  Colin?

Q:  Hello.

You say that NATO and Turkey remain shut.  But Turkey has taken motion after motion, on the S-400, on the Kurds, on a variety of other points that appear to indicate that they don’t share that view.  Are you making an attempt to, type of, isolate the F-35 challenge from the relaxation of NATO issues?

What are the longer-term strategic implications in the event that they do buy the S-400?  It will seem to determine a serious new relationship with the Russians, a qualitatively and quantitative difference.

MS. LORD:  I’m only addressing the F-35 and we’re preserving that separate and distinct.

Andrew?

MR. WINTERNITZ:  Yeah.  I’ll take — you understand, I have a response to you on this.

I feel in our discussions, you realize, with the appearing secretary and in any respect levels under, our counterparts really need to continue our — really strategic partnership and our cooperation at NATO.

And so that is — this is — we hope this is an aberration.  We do consider that this purchase is definitely incompatible with commitments that Turkey made at NATO, especially at the 2016 — the summit declaration from 2016, which referred to as for spinning down, you understand, gear from Russia and not any new purchases as nicely.

So, you already know, this is Turkey’s selection and we’ll — we’ll modify.

Q:  Is my characterization truthful in the event that they do buy the S-400?

MR. WINTERNITZ:  I’m sorry, which characterization …

(CROSSTALK)

Q:  There’s a quantitative and qualitative change in the relationship.

MR. WINTERNITZ:  I might say it — it modifications our relationship, but I don’t know if it’s something — it’s not one thing that we hope is going to disturb the — the many-layered strategic relationship that we’ve got, strategic partnership that we’ve with Turkey throughout a number of issues.

STAFF:  Lita?

Q:  Is there — does the U.S. reimburse Turkey for the four F-35s that have already been bought?

And has there been any indication in any of the meetings with any of the Turkish government leaders, that they are prepared to make any modifications to their choice on the S-400?  The whole lot they’ve stated publicly suggests no.  Have you ever heard something from them inside these conferences that means a change of choice is even remotely attainable?

MS. LORD:  For the first half of the query, we are underneath discussions right now right here internally as to how we are going to cope with the 4 aircraft that they’ve already taken supply on and which might be at Luke Air Pressure Base right now.

I feel the undeniable fact that Minister Akar continues to return and meet with us, continues to have telephone calls with us, continues to send letters forwards and backwards exhibits that there’s a want to find a approach forward.

Q:  There was a suggestion not that long ago from Turkey that they seem to indicate the U.S. was prepared to take a seat down or speak to them about this — this technological workforce that might present that the S-400 wouldn’t intrude with the F-35.  Are you closing the door to that sort of discussion?

MS. LORD:  We have now been very consistent all alongside that we aren’t going to discuss technical mitigations to the S-400.

Q:  Thank you.

Q:  Tara Copp with McClatchy.

To follow-up on Phil’s query, the elements that Turkey had been producing, might you describe those elements and perhaps what vendors — or perhaps what U.S. distributors are choosing up the slack?

MS. LORD:  There were 930 — or there are 937 elements produced by Turkish industries.  Over — just a little over 400 of them have been sole-sourced.  That’s what we’re notably targeted on.  And we’re working with Northrop — I’m sorry — with Lockheed Martin on the aircraft aspect, with Pratt & Whitney on the engine aspect, to seek out alternate sources.  They are the ones making the selections to try this.  We’re properly underway nevertheless it has not been finalized, and we will share with — that with you if we get nearer to that various.

Q:  Might you, by probability, simply present a couple of examples of the elements which are having to be … ?

MS. LORD:  They’re — lots of the land — the touchdown gear — a big portion of that, middle fuselage.

STAFF:  Justin?

Q:  Yeah.  I just needed to ask about the impacts on the program.  I feel Vice Admiral Winter advised that about 50 to 75 plane might be delayed over a two-year period.  Is that still the assessment, or what’s, type of, the impression of this one?

MS. LORD:  What we are doing is working to do a really disciplined and sleek wind-down.  If we will work to our timelines with the Turks, we might haven’t any major disruptions and very few delays.

What Vice Admiral Winter was alluding to is, if we had to terminate supply, you realize, early this summer time.

STAFF:  (Off mic)?

Q:  (Off mic) Might I — sorry.

Q:  Oh, I’m sorry …

Do you are feeling assured that President Trump is onboard together with your determination?  He has a habit of getting on the telephone with Erdogan and altering his thoughts.

MS. LORD:  We continue to work very intently with NSC and State and all of authorities.  So there are very open strains of communication.

STAFF:  Go forward.

Q:  So what’s the status of the engine depot in Turkey?  Is that going to maneuver to Holland or are other plans for it?

MS. LORD:  We stopped delivery supplies to stand up that MRO&U facility, and there are two European MRO&Us that can take up the quantity with no difficulty in any way.

Q:  And there’s — there’s no plans proper now to do something with the nuclear weapons which are in Turkey?

MS. LORD:  I can’t tackle that.

MR. WINTERNITZ:  I’m not going to deal with that.

STAFF:  Valerie?

Q:  So for — you mentioned that the current work share is going to be transitioned to other vendors.  Are they going to be allowed to complete out their contracts or is that additionally being minimize at July 31st?

MS. LORD:  What we are doing is talking a few wind-down in early 2020.

Q:  OK.  And only a larger-picture question: At this level, you understand, Turkey’s had a really giant, you already know, view into the technical info of the construct of this jet, and their pilots are also virtually all the means by way of training in order that they have a view into technical info.  How do you guys be sure that all of that stays protected?

MS. LORD:  Nicely, we management what is downloaded from our computers.  We’ve got shared what’s applicable.  The Turks haven’t any crucial documentation that we are concerned about.

Q:  What about what’s in the pilot’s heads?

MR. WINTERNITZ:  Nicely, I — I might simply make — you already know, Turkey’s a — a NATO ally, a robust NATO ally and — and we’ve information-sharing agreements with them, and we anticipate that they’ll continue to uphold their end of those agreements.

STAFF:  Oriana?

Q:  Is the U.S. ready for Turkey to reply and take its own motion by probably spending U.S. operations in Incirlik Air Base?

MR. WINTERNITZ:  I — I don’t assume that — I feel that’s a hypothetical, and I don’t assume I’m going to go down that street.

STAFF:  Tom?

Q:  I need to comply with up real fast, after which questions on Valerie’s point about the wind-down.  So the elements which might be made by Turkish outfits will continue till some point into 2020.  Am I understanding appropriately?

MS. LORD:  That’s what we want to see occur.

Q:  See happen, OK.

MS. LORD:  We need to have a course of that isn’t disruptive to the program and permits the Turks to wind down their activities, as nicely.

Q:  Thanks.  My query is, in all the discussions with the Turks over the S-400s and their needs, their anti-missile defense wants, have the Turks ever identified or instructed who they really feel the menace is more likely to come from?  I ask this because NATO is designed, of course, to fight the Soviet Union and Russia.  And so to — to me, it’s — it appears somewhat puzzling that the — the logical menace to them would come from Russia or an ally of Russia, yet they’re relying on a Russian system.  Have you ever talked about who they thought the menace was going to return from?

MR. WINTERNITZ:  Nicely, hey, pay attention, Turkey’s obviously in a — in a really robust neighborhood, and they also — I feel they face threats from a — from a quantity of locations, and — but they’ve — they’ve recognized this as a security want. And we have now — we’re prepared to discuss with them a solution that doesn’t involve the S-400 as — as soon as they’re prepared to discuss that — you understand, that with us.

STAFF:  Luis?

Q:  Hello.  Only a very primary query.  Cause — sort of new to all of this, so I — I apologize.  You — you finished your statement by saying that the F-35 is incompatible with the S-400; can you just clarify what that’s — what are the considerations that you’ve?  What — what does that really imply if you say incompatible?  Except for the primary that one is American, and the different is Russian?

MS. LORD:  We do not need to have the F-35 in close proximity to the S-400 over a period of time because of the potential to know the profile of the F-35 on that exact piece of gear.

Q:  And you’re speaking about the radar profile of — of the aircraft, and — or any potential vulnerabilities that it (inaudible) …

STAFF:  Sylvie?

Q:  Do you — do you assume that there is — variations of opinion on the F-35 and the S-400 between the Turkish army and the government?  You’re considering Turkey itself, there are variations?

MR. WINTERNITZ:  I — I might defer questions on that to — to Turkey. I don’t assume I’m going to get into that.

STAFF:  Go ahead.

Q:  Brian Everstine of Air Drive Magazine.  You had mentioned Anatolian Eagle.  So the Air Pressure continues to be planning to send six F-15s, I consider, to fly?  And in the future, would the U.S. army really feel protected doing those type of operations in a rustic that has the S-400 if Turkey does take supply?

MR. WINTERNITZ:  You already know, I feel we now have to guage what we’re doing precisely there.  I feel, you understand, obviously, if they do arrange the S-400, that’s going to — to have an effect on how we take a look at these varieties of workouts in the future.  But for now, we’re — we’re committed to — to sustaining our strategic partnership with them, including this upcoming train.

Q:  Hi, simply to be clear, so July 31st is the deadline for Ankara to cancel S-400 by and accept the U.S.’s present L.O.A. on Patriot?

MR. WINTERNITZ:  I don’t assume that’s exactly right.  I feel it’s somewhat bit — little bit totally different than that.  What we’re saying is that we’re going to start out winding down the coaching that Turkey is doing right here in the United States and their participation in the program, because they’ve began, you realize, training on the S-400.

And so it’s not a — it’s not a deadline, in a way.  It is — but it is a — a objective for us to the place we may have wound it down. And in addition, you understand, so that nothing else new is beginning up.

MS. LORD:  Yeah.  And the one caveat is, if we see further activity, we might speed up that wind-down.

MR. WINTERNITZ:  That’s proper.

Q:  And, just at this point in the negotiations, have the U.S. thought-about probably handing over Patriot’s know-how suite, the crown jewel, so to speak, to Turkey?

MR. WINTERNITZ:  I mean, we — we’ve mentioned with them; we’ve made a suggestion on — on what we will do.  I’m not going to get into the specifics of the supply, however obviously we’ll all the time shield our know-how as greatest we will.

STAFF:  Go ahead, Marcus.

Q:  In the letter Secretary Shanahan sent to his counterpart yesterday, he talks about this probably going past the F-35.  Are you able to speak about what else you guys are taking a look at, other packages you’re taking a look at suspension of cooperation with?

MS. LORD:  Really, when it goes beyond the F-35, it gets into the State Department’s realm and I might defer to them.

Q:  So it doesn’t embrace any arms gross sales stuff; it was extra of the exercise stuff that — or cooperation?

MS. LORD:  Properly, in terms of any additional actions or sanctions, that’s the State Department.

Q: Yep.

STAFF:  Jenny?

Q:  Oh, sorry, that was my question, truly.  However I didn’t know if yet there are any weapons methods that would — are additionally incompatible with the S-400?

MS. LORD:  We’ve not addressed that.  We’ve addressed the F-35.

STAFF:  Go forward.

Q:  A quick question:  simply on the lookout for some extra detail on this training mission that Turkish forces went to in Russia.  Do you could have any more element so far as how many Turkish troops went?  Is that this the first time that they’ve gone over for coaching?  Is there any indication from Turkey that these — these troops being educated can be now withdrawn now that the department has taken this — this position?

MR. WINTERNITZ:  I mean — I imply, to your final level there, you understand, that may be nice, however I feel what we all know on that is what Turkey has shared publicly, that they’ve started the coaching in Russia.

Q:  Wow.

Q:  What — what particularly do it’s essential to see Turkey do to halt the winding down of — of this participation in the F-35?

Even if they don’t take supply subsequent month, it doesn’t imply that they couldn’t take supply in August or September.  Do you need them to, type of, surrender and rip up the contract publicly, or — what’s it that they need to do to cease this?

MR. WINTERNITZ:  I feel it will be great if they began winding down their acquisition of the S-400.  I mean, I feel, clearly, you already know, a superb sign can be if they have been to stop the coaching in Russia.  That might be a fantastic signal to us, and then we will — but we’re prepared to debate those — those issues with them once they’re prepared.

STAFF:  One final one, after which we’re going to go ahead and go (inaudible).

Q:  Me?

STAFF:  Yep.

Q:  Oh, cool. (Laughter.)

Do you assume that that is going to have any influence on the contract negotiations which might be ongoing?

Turkey’s obviously —

MS. LORD:  Which contract negotiations are you referring to?

Q:  The LREP-11 and past — or sorry — LREP-12 and beyond?

MS. LORD:  Not — by no means, by no means.

Q:  OK.  And why — why do you guys — why aren’t you guys having the pilots pause their coaching now, or have them return now?  Why have them — have so many of them complete their coaching?

MS. LORD:  We truly had a brand new tranche of pilots that have been imagined to arrive in June not come, and what we’re making an attempt to do is be respectful with the Turks as we transfer along.  And we’re hopeful that they’ll stop the acquisition of the S-400.  We’d very very similar to them to stay in the program, have the F-35 and never have the S-400.

STAFF:  So we’re going to go ahead and cease there.  Sir, do you could have any closing remarks?  No ? Mister … ?

MR. WINTERNITZ:  No.  No. (Laughter.)

STAFF:  Do you’ve got something you want to add?

MR. WINTERNITZ:  I don’t.  I feel we’ve principally stated what we have to say.  And thank you, everyone, for — for coming out for this.

STAFF:  Ma’am, do you could have any closing remarks?

MS. LORD:  I just needed to say that this — every part that we’re speaking about, in terms of winding down the program, shouldn’t be an irreversible determination.  So if Turkey needs to cease procurement of the S-400, we might very very similar to them to proceed in the F-35 program.