January 7, 2015 / 7:45 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Turkey to order four more F-35 fighter jets - Davutoglu

(Adds background, missile defence system)

ANKARA, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Turkey has decided to order four more of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jets in addition to the two it previously ordered, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Wednesday.

Turkey said in 2012 it was sticking to its plans to buy 100 of the planes with an initial order of two planes for delivery in 2015.

“It is planned that Turkey will buy 100 F-35 warplanes in the project. We previously ordered two in this framework. We have now decided to order four more,” Davutoglu said after a meeting of Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defence Industries.

The plane is being developed and built by Lockheed Martin Corp for the U.S. military and allies in a $399 billion project, the world’s most expensive weapons programme.

The F-35 is intended to deliver advanced stealth capabilities, improved manoeuvrability and high-tech sensors, but the programme has struggled with delays and budget overruns.

Davutoglu also said the decision was taken at the meeting to continue talks on Turkey’s planned long-range missile system project.

In September, President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was in talks with France on purchasing such a defence system after disagreements with China, which was originally awarded the tender.

U.S. and NATO officials have said Turkish collaboration with China on the system could raise questions of compatibility of weaponry and of security. (Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Andrew Roche/Ruth Pitchford)

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