(TM) — NATO said Friday it was “concerned” by Turkey’s acquisition of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system after Ankara took delivery of its first batch, AFP reported.
The alliance has repeatedly warned Turkey that the Russian system is incompatible with other NATO weapons systems, not least the F-35 fighter jet.
“We are concerned about the potential consequences of Turkey’s decision to acquire the S-400 system,” a NATO official told AFP.
“Interoperability of our armed forces is fundamental to NATO for the conduct of our operations and missions.”
The US fears that if NATO member Turkey integrates the S-400 into its defenses, there is a risk that sensitive data about the F-35, a new generation, multi-role stealth fighter, could leak back to the Russians.
President Donald Trump’s pick for Pentagon chief, Mark Esper, confronted the Turkish defense minister about the deal on the sidelines of a NATO meeting last month.
Washington has threatened to expel Turkey from its F-35 program, giving Ankara until July 31 to cancel the S-400 purchase or have its pilots kicked off the training course and expelled from the US.
But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has refused to back down and said he is confident Turkey will not face US sanctions.
By Turkish Minute / Republished with permission
Today first parts of the Russian S-400 air defense systems arrived in Turkey. The Russian Ministry of Defense posted a video of the arrival on Facebook. The Turkish Ministry of Defense video showed the unloading of six support vehicles belong to a S-400 set. A complete S-400 set consists of two radars, a command post, eight launch vehicles with four missiles each, and various loader and other support vehicles. Turkey has ordered two complete sets for which it will pay about $2.5 billion.
First shipment of Russian S-400 missile defence system hardware to Ankara started today, Turkey’s National Defence Ministry said. “First batch of equipment of S-400 missile defence system, which is procured to meet Turkey’s air and missile defence need, has started to arrive at Murted Air Base in Ankara as of July 12, 2019,” the ministry said on Twitter.
The Turkish president has described plans to help Russia build its next generation missile defense system. The move is likely to further strain Turkey's relations with the United States. Russia and Turkey will jointly produce the next generation S-500 aerial missile defense system, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.
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