Turkey is now in a tough position to choose between America’s F-35 advanced jets and Russia’s S-400 missile defence system as Washington has given a deadline to cancel its orders with Russia and purchase the US Patriot air defence system instead. Turkey has already made a deal with Russia and has sent some of its officials to Russia to be trained on the S-400. Though Turkey is a member of NATO and a part of the US F-35 warplane programme, it’s not ready to reconsider the deal that has already made with Russia as part of Russia-Turkey alliance.
What is S-400 Triumf
It is an upgraded version of the S-300 family, an anti-aircraft weapon system developed in the late 1970s. It has been used in the Russian Armed Forces since 2007. The current S-400 is the latest version of this family and it has also been described by The Economist as “one of the best air-defence system currently made.”
Why the US opposes S-400
Russia has been working on radar and missiles targetting the low observable aircraft. The primary concern of Kremlin is to tackle US air power. S-400 is one of the most sophisticated surface-to-air missile systems in the world with the range of 400Km. It has the ability to shoot up to 80 targets simultaneously ranging from low-flying drones to aircraft or long-range missiles. The reason behind the worries of the US officials is that the S-400 radar could access sensitive US military technologies in service and also it would gather technical details of their F-35.
Other countries with S-400 deal with Russia
China and India have already placed their orders and now Turkey joins the list. China also faces US sanctions for buying S-400 and other arms from Russia. In October last year, India signed a 5 billion dollar deal to buy five S-400 regimental units amidst US concerns over this deal. Neither India nor Turkey has come to the US sanction list yet. Iran has also shown its interest to purchase S-400 from Russia but Russia has rejected the deal as there is already increasing tensions between Iran and the USA after President Trump called off the nuclear deal with Iran and Russia didn’t want a further escalation of tension in the region.