WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News
The United States is preparing to transfer another two decommissioned Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigates to the Turkish Navy, and the two sides are continuing talks on final details, officials said.
Congress has recently approved the transfer and President George W. Bush has signed it.
One of the frigates will be granted and the other will be sold, one official said.
At the end of the ongoing final technical notification talks, the two sides are due to decide on the degree of maintenance and repair work the two ships will undergo in the United States and about the time of delivery, the official said. Turkey should pay for repair and maintenance expenses at U.S. shipyards.
Both frigates, decommissioned from the U.S. Navy in past years, are valued at around $125 million, one U.S. source said.
Other frigates and helicopters:
Turkey's Navy has already been operating eight other Perry-class frigates granted earlier by the United States.
These frigates are specialized in surface combat, and in order to bolster the vessels' antisubmarine capabilities, Turkey deploys with them S-70 B Seahawk naval warfare helicopters, purchased from U.S. manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft.
Turkey presently has seven S-70Bs, but under a 2005 contract with Sikorsky is preparing to receive another 17 helicopters.
The United States had proposed the delivery to Turkey of the two frigates under a 2007 plan to transfer several recently decommissioned war ships to a number of allied nations.
Under the original plan, the United States had also offered two Osprey-class minehunters, but Turkey is expected not to accept them as the ships are not compatible with the Turkish naval system, officials said.
As Turkey does not have coasts on oceans, frigates -- which are smaller than cruisers and destroyers but larger than corvettes -- are the largest type of surface war ship in the Turkish Navy's inventory.