Israel Impedes Delivery of Boeing Wedgetail to Turkey

 - November 16, 2012, 3:05 PM
Delivery of operational Boeing Wedgetail AEW aircraft to the Turkish air force has been held up by an Israeli embargo, according to a leading Turkish newspaper. (Photo: Boeing)

Israel had prevented Boeing from delivering two Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft to the Turkish air force, but has now agreed to lift its restriction, according to a November 9 report in the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet. AIN understands that the Elta division of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) provides the vital electronic support measures (ESM) system for all the Wedgetails sold to date–four to Turkey, four to Korea and six to Australia. Northrop Grumman provides the core AEW radar system. Both Boeing and IAI declined to comment on the matter. Boeing did say that delivery of the first Wedgetail to the Turkish air force is expected in the first half of next year.

Relations between Israel and Turkey deteriorated in 2010 after Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish ship en route to Gaza with relief supplies. The Israeli Defense Ministry subsequently forbade IAI and Elbit Systems from completing contracts they had signed with Turkey, according to Hurriyet. By then, Boeing had delivered the second and third of four Wedgetail aircraft ordered by Turkey to Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), which had completed the in-country modification of the 737 airframes. The first and fourth aircraft were still in the U.S., the first having been used for development, test and evaluation. In June last year, Boeing told journalists that validation testing was still being performed on Turkish aircraft one, two and three, and that the radar was still being installed on the fourth aircraft in Seattle.

According to Hurriyet, the Wedgetail contract was signed in 2002 and is worth $1.6 billion, of which Elta’s contribution is worth $100 million. It said that Boeing had urged Elta to complete production of the systems for Turkey.