The Turkish Air Force has cancelled a $14 million contract with Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) Friday, July 11, 2003. The deal provided for the upgrade of seven C-130 Hercules planes, reported Yediot Ahronot.
The international tender for the modernization of the seven military transport planes was issued late 1998 and was designed to give the aircraft inter-continental flight capability. The Turks insisted that the upgrade contract specification included systems that IAI claimed were not part of the deal. Mediation efforts, undertaken by the Israeli Ministry of Defense, proved unsuccessful.
Turkey received its first four Hercules C-130Es in 1964, under the US Military Assistance Program. Two more C-130Es were delivered in 1971 and a single C-130H in 1987. Turkey acquired six former USAF C-130Bs in 1991.
The secular, predominantly Muslim, Turkish state is the Jewish state's closest ally in the Middle East, a relationship fastened by converging strategic interests. Over the past three years, the Turkish military chose Israeli firms to upgrade its tanks and fighter jets. The countries also concluded a defense agreement in 1996. — (menareport.com)
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