ANKARA, July 14. /TASS/. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday the S-400 deal with Russia is a major agreement in Turkey’s modern history.
"Today, the most important agreement in our modern history is the S-400 deal. Purchasing S-400 systems, Turkey is not getting prepared for a war. These missile defense systems are meant to ensure peace and security in our country. We make other steps to improve our defense capacities," Turkey Haberleri, a news portal, quoted him as saying.
The Turkish leader once again pledged that control over S-400 systems would be completely exercised by the national armed forces.
He also touched upon the problem of supplies of US F-35 fifth-generation fighter jets in the light of Washington threats to stop them over the S-400 deal. "The S-400 deal is one topic, while F-35 is quite another topic. BY today, we have paid 1.4 billion US dollars for the F-35s. If Turkey is excluded from the F-35 program, the cost of one aircraft may go up by seven to eight mission. It is not an easy decision. [In this case], they will have to pay back the sum we have paid," Erdogan said.
Supplies of Russian S-400 missile defense systems to Turkey started on July 12. According to the Turkish defense ministry, three cargo planes delivered several truck tractors and a transport and load vehicle for S-400 systems to Murted Air Base. Another Russian plane arrived next day. The seventh plane reportedly landed on Sunday.
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 to Rostech, a Russian state-run hi-tech corporation, Director General Sergei Chemezov, the contract cost is 2.5 billion US dollars.
Turkey is the first NATO member states to buy such missile systems from Russia.
The United States has been seeking to break down 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 fighters, 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. More to it, Israel and Japan buy such jets.
Russia’s S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is the latest long-range antiaircraft 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.