Russia: Turkey can produce components of S-400
Components of S-400 air defense systems can be produced in Turkey, Russia’s presidential spokesman said on April 11.
“We are not talking about the complete production chain, as it is a new type of weapons. But the production of some components can be organized,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters in the capital Moscow.
“The production can be on the territory of Turkey,” he added.
Meanwhile, the U.S.’s top diplomat said on April 10 that American-made F-35 fighter jets cannot operate in the same airspace as the Russian S-400 missile system.
“It is not possible to both fly the F-35 in space where the S-400 is significantly operable,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing.
He said the U.S. relayed “this technical challenge” to Turkey through both diplomatic and military channels.
Following protracted efforts to purchase air defense systems from the U.S. with no success, Ankara decided in 2017 to purchase Russia’s system.
Washington warned Ankara of its purchase of the S-400 system, and last week suspended delivery of parts and other services related to the F-35 jets.
U.S. officials suggested Turkey buy the U.S. Patriot missile systems rather than the S-400 from Moscow, arguing it would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35 to possible Russian subterfuge.
Pompeo hinted at the possibility of sanctions through a law passed to punish a trio of other nations, because of the deal.
“The S-400 is a significant weapons system, and we’ve shared with them, we’ve asked them to go take a look CAATSA, what that might well mean for them,” he said.
The Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA, was passed in 2017 to impose sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia and combat those countries’ influences across the globe.
Pompeo said a deal for the American air defense system is now on the table, and that the U.S. acknowledges Turkey’s role in the F-35 program.
“We’ve made clear to the Turks as plainly as we can, they build a significant component of the F-35. Not only are they purchasers and customers, but they are part of the supply chain for the F-35,” Pompeo said.
Turkey first joined the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program in 2002 and has invested more than $1.25 billion. It also manufactures various aircraft parts for all F-35 variants and customers.
Turkish firms have supplied the F-35 program with key components, including airframe structures and assemblies and the center fuselages.
WASHINGTON — Russia will deliver its S-400 missile defense system to Turkey despite the U.S. State Department’s decision to sell a rival platform to Ankara for $3.5 billion.
The S-400, a mobile long-range surface-to-air missile system, is the Kremlin’s answer to America’s Patriot and THAAD platforms. Lockheed Martin makes the THAAD, or terminal high altitude area defense, system, while Raytheon makes the Patriot.
Last year, Ankara signed an agreement with Moscow for the S-400 missile system, a deal reportedly worth $2.5 billion. All the while, Turkey has helped finance America’s most expensive weapons system, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
In short, these two big-ticket weapons systems that Turkey hopes to add to its budding arsenal can be used against each other.
China was reportedly set to receive another batch of the S-400 surface-to-air defense systems this summer, making it the latest power preparing to deploy a weapon sought by U.S. friends and foes alike.
China accepted its first S-400 regiment last July, and Russia was preparing to set sail “at least three marine vessels” from the Baltic Sea to transport a second batch in late July of this year, according to a military-diplomatic source cited Wednesday by the state-run Tass Russian News Agency. The delivery reportedly included a regimental command post, S-400 launching stations, an ammunition load, radars, energy and supplement equipment and spare parts.
The S-400 is a longer-range, more versatile and cheaper alternative to U.S. defense systems, making it a coveted addition to the arsenals of even U.S. allies such as Turkey, a member of the NATO Western military alliance. Also on Wednesday, U.S. envoy to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison derided Ankara’s purchase from Moscow, which she said may attempt “a transfer of information, communications, or even an interruption” of U.S. weapons.
“It’s a very serious issue,” Hutchinson told reporters. “Turkey is a very important ally. They are an ally. They are also carrying a heavy load in our NATO missions. They too are a framework nation in Afghanistan, and they are participating in all of our missions and they have since the beginning of NATO. So we want Turkey to stay in the alliance. We want them not to have a Russian missile defense system in the middle of their country that cannot be interoperable with NATO.”
Turkey has dismissed U.S. and NATO calls to quit the agreement, even as the Pentagon threatened to cancel the transfer of advanced F-35 fighter jets to the Middle Eastern ally straddling the crossroads of Asia and Europe. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told the NATO Engages event held Wednesday by the Washington-based Atlantic Council think tank on the eve of the transatlantic bloc’s 70th anniversary that the S-400 “is a done deal” and will “definitely” go through.
Another major military power preparing to receive the S-400 was India. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi finalized a multibillion-dollar deal involving the weapon during the former’s visit to New Delhi in October.
Even Saudi Arabia, the largest purchaser of U.S. military equipment, has inquired about buying the S-400 and reportedly remained in consultations as of at least February. The Pentagon announced last month, however, that Lockheed Martin had been awarded a nearly $1 billion-dollar contract to develop for Riyadh a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, a rival platform that—unlike the S-400—could only target ballistic missiles and not aircraft.
The kingdom has courted both Washington and Moscow in spite of both powers’ continued relations with a rival Sunni Muslim monarchy next door. Since June 2017, Saudi Arabia has boycotted and blockaded neighboring Qatar, accusing it of sponsoring militant groups and of fostering ties with revolutionary Shiite Muslim Iran. After talks last month between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the latter’s office revealed that Doha still sought to buy the S-400 and that “such deals are the sovereign decision of the State of Qatar and it does concern not Saudi Arabia or any other country.”
While President Donald Trump may have shored up ties to the Saudi royal family under his administration, Qatar remained home to the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East. Fellow U.S. ally Iraq has also discussed a potential S-400 purchase in the past and the systems were already deployed at Russian military positions in neighboring Syria, where U.S. troops and aircraft were also active on a rival mission.