Turkey Seeks to Buy U.S. Early-Warning Aircraft

On November 27, Turkey announced it would begin negotiations with Boeing to purchase six airborne early-warning and control (AEW&C) 737 aircraft with an option for one more at an estimated total cost of $1.5 billion. Negotiations are expected to start in early 2001.

The proposed AEW&C buy will be Ankara's first acquisition of such a capability, providing Turkey with the ability to simultaneously track some 3,000 targets, while guiding up to 20 Turkish aircraft. The plane's radar provides 360 degrees of coverage to distances greater than 320 kilometers.

The proposed sale of the 737 platform system is only Boeing's second. The company ended production of 707 aircraft for airborne warning and control systems (AWACS) in 1991. Australia selected the 737 in July 1999 and just concluded contract negotiations on December 19 for four of the aircraft, worth more than $1 billion, with an option for three additional planes. The first aircraft is scheduled for delivery in 2006.

Boeing's negotiations with Turkey could also be protracted. Turkey has sought maximum offsets and technology transfers in past deals with U.S. companies. Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit warned that Turkey would begin talks with Raytheon, another U.S. company, if an agreement could not be reached with Boeing.