WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US lawmakers have drafted a defence spending bill that would ban the transfer of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey in order to prevent the exposure of the US technology to Russian missile systems, the House Appropriations Committee said.
The draft legislation “prohibits the transfer of F-35 fighters to Turkey to prevent the exposure of cutting-edge US technology to Russian missile systems”, the committee said in a press release.
The draft Fiscal Year 2020 Defence Funding Bill published by the committee stipulates that no funds should be made available for the delivery of “F-35 air vehicles or any other F–35 weapon system equipment” to Turkey.
The US House Appropriations Committee recommended funding for the procurement of 90 F-35 fighter jets for fiscal year 2020, twelve more than requested by the Trump administration, a draft defence spending bill revealed.
“The FY2020 Procurement recommendation… funds 90 F-35 aircraft, 12 more than the request ($8.7 billion)”, the committee said in a press release accompanying the budget.
The recommendation provides $690.2 billion in new discretionary spending for the Defence Department, marking an increase of $15.8 billion above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level, and $8 billion below the requested funds.
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The draft bill also said it prohibits the transfer of F-35 jets to Turkey to prevent the exposure of cutting-edge US technology to Russian missile systems.
The bill comes after Turkish media earlier carried reports about possible purchase by Turkey of Russian Su-57 fighters in the event the United States refuses to supply Turkey with F-35 fighters.
Turkey is one of the participants in the US F-35 international program. Washington has repeatedly threatened Ankara with sanctions for possible acquisition of Russian S-400 air defence systems and has not ruled out delaying or cancelling the process of selling the F-35 aircraft to Turkey. Ankara, in its turn, has said that purchase of military equipment is its sovereign affair and ruled out the possibility of abandoning its plans.