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US admits that Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 systems constitutes problem

Turkey is the first NATO member state to buy such missile systems from Russia

WASHINGTON, July 12. /TASS/. The US administration admits that Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems is a problem, a senior administration official told TASS on Friday commenting on the delivery of the first batch of components to the Murted Air Base near Ankara under the S-400 contract.

"We are aware of reports that Turkey has taken delivery of the S-400. As the President [of the United States Donald Trump] said at the G20 [summit in Japan’s Osaka] ahead of a meeting with [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, it's a problem, there's no question about it," he said, refraining from further comments.

The media reported in November 2016 that talks were underway on possible sales of Russian S-400 systems to Turkey. The Russian side confirmed that the contract had been signed in September 2017. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said back then that the deployment of S-400 systems would begin in October 2019.

According Director General Sergey Chemezov of Rostech, a Russian state-run hi-tech corporation, the contract cost $2.5 billion.

Turkey is the first NATO member state to buy such missile systems from Russia.

The United States has sought to undermine the deal. It has repeatedly warned Turkey that in case it buys the Russian missile systems, it would not get F-35 fighter jets.

By now, Turkey has ordered 30 out of possible 100 US F-35 multi-role stealth fighter jets capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Along with the United States, eight countries, namely Australia, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway and Turkey, are taking part in the project. Moreover, Israel and Japan buy such jets.

Russia’s S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is the latest long-range anti-aircraft missile system that went into service in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range missiles, and surface targets. The system can hit aerodynamic targets at a range of up to 400 kilometers (249 miles) and tactical ballistic targets flying at a speed of 4.8 km/s (3 mi/s) at a distance of up to 60 kilometers (37 miles). Such targets include cruise missiles, tactical and strategic aircraft and ballistic missile warheads.

The system’s radars detect aerial targets at a distance of up to 600 kilometers (373 miles). The system’s 48N6E3 surface-to-air missiles can hit aerodynamic targets at altitudes of 10,000-27,000 meters and ballistic threats at altitudes of 2,000-25,000 meters.