Turkey Ready to Use Russian S-400 Missile Defense System: Minister

The Turkish government is prepared to deploy its Russian-made S-400 missile defense system should a threat deem it necessary, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar stated recently.

“If any threats arise, we will decide where and how to use it,” the defense chief said during the Turkish Parliament’s planning and budget committee hearing.

The S-400 Triumph

The S-400 Triumph is a Russian-made long-range, surface-to-air missile system that can engage various aerial threats, including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and ballistic and cruise missiles.

The Triumph is equipped with three main missiles. Its 48N6 missile series can destroy airborne targets to a range of 250 kilometers (155 miles) and intercept ballistic missiles within 60 kilometers (37 miles).

The 77N6 missiles feature hit-to-kill technology, targeting ballistic missile warheads, while the long-range 40N6 missiles have extended air defense capabilities of up to 400 kilometers (249 miles).

US-Turkey Tensions

The Turkish government’s $2.5-billion dollar procurement of the Russian system in 2017 provoked tensions in US-Turkey relations.

In 2019, the Trump administration removed the Anakara from the F-35 stealth fighter program following Turkey’s acceptance of the first of four S-400 batteries. 

“Unfortunately, Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible,” then-Whitehouse Spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said.

NATO allies criticized Turkey’s move over data security concerns, as the joint strike fighters collected data “may end up being transmitted to Russia” through network links.

Last year, Ankara hired an international law firm to help win back its place in the program.

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