The Russian S-400 anti ballistic missile defense system is reputedly the most advanced on the planet at this time. Put against the American-made Patriot system, the Russian S-400 Triumf system offers both longer and shorter range intercept capabilities (both very important!) and it is one of the recent Russian-made weapons systems that shows a great deal of sophistication.
Normally, one would expect for those countries closely allied with Russia to buy Russian weapons, and those allied with the US to get American-made stuff. However, the S-400 began to change this, with Turkey and India both opting for the S-400 rather than sticking with the allied weapons.
More significantly, Turkey is a NATO member, an especially significant ally of the United States. This country now will have both Russian S-400 AND American Patriot platforms operating on its soil, and the US no doubt has military engineers that would love to have a good look at the S-400 system.
Turkey says: It’s not going to happen.
Turkey has no intention of letting the United States examine the S-400 air defense systems Ankara is purchasing from Russia. A source at Turkey’s Foreign Ministry told TASS on Thursday Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu made a statement to that effect to Russia’s ambassador to Turkey Alexei Yerkhov a day earlier.
“In the process of negotiations ambassador Yerkhov asked a question if foreign mass media reports saying Turkey had invited the United States to examine the S-400 system were true. Our minister replied there has been nothing of the sort,” the source said.
Earlier, a source at Turkey’s Foreign Ministry told TASS Ankara would use the S-400 separately from NATO’s systems and also in a way that would keep secret all sensitive information about US F-35 fighter jets.
On December 18, it was announced the US Administration had made a decision to sell Patriot air defense systems to Turkey for $3.5 billion. The sale of Patriots to Turkey will by no means affect the S-400 contract between Moscow and Ankara, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media on December 19.
The first reports Russia and Turkey were in talks over an S-400 contract emerged in November 2016. Russia confirmed the conclusion of the deal on September 12, 2017. Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said the S-400 would begin to be deployed in October 2019. The head of the state-run corporation Rostec Sergei Chemezov said in December 2017 the value of the S-400 contract with Ankara stood at $2.5 billion.
NATO was created as an alliance of Western states that would together contain and repel the evil, dastardly Soviet Union, but when the Soviet Union went away, NATO didn’t. The tragic, but in this case, oddly amusing aspect of this is that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has no real purpose. President Donald Trump actually threw this point out into public discussion last summer, just before his meeting with the NATO member states and his first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Turkey actually has a military advantage shared by few nations on earth: that of having equipment on their soil by the two most advanced weapons manufacturers in the world. It stands to reason that they would probably learn everything they can about both systems. Since Turkey is also adjoining neighboring Syria and in a conflict with the Kurds, their proximity to hostilities means that these systems have a somewhat greater probability of being put to use, in which case a real comparison might be made.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.