Contrary to reports and uncertainty among observers and analysts, Turkey’s Minister of Defence Nurettin Canikli announced that the Turkish government has “completed” its order for the Almaz-Antey S-400 long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system from Russia.
Following-up on Canikli’s statement, the Turkish parliamentarian Ahmet Berat Conkar, also the head of a Turkish delegation to NATO, stated: “Turkey’s picked S-400 over other options because the missile system possesses more advanced technical features than its rivals, with a better price and shorter delivery time.”
Ankara’s affirmation comes amid uncertainty stemming from earlier statements made by Gen. Petr Pavel, the chairman of NATO’s Military Committee. Gen. Pavel had essentially warned that a Turkish acquisition of the S-400 could have “consequences” beyond the question of interoperability.
However, it appears that the S-400 deal had effectively been finalized since late September, when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that Ankara had paid Moscow a deposit for the system. The Russian side (via Presidential Aide Vladimir Kozhin) confirmed receiving the payment.
In parallel, Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) commissioned Aselsan and Roketsan to produce a NATO-compliant long-range SAM system. In July, the SSM, Aselsan and Roketsan signed a “Heads of Agreement” (HoA) with Eurosam, a French-Italian consortium responsible for the MBDA Aster-30 based SAMP/T (Surface-to-Air Missile Platform/Terrain).
Eurosam will assist Aselsan and Roketsan in the Turkish long-range SAM program, which was initiated following a collapse in talks for the HQ-9 system from China.
“In addition to the S-400, Turkey also made preliminary agreements with the Eurosam countries to develop, produce and use the air defense system in order to improve its long-term domestic national capacity,” said Defence Minister Canikli (via Hurriyet Daily News), adding, “We especially aim to have our own technology.”
The marquee missile of the S-400 is the 40N6, which confers the system an engagement range of 400 km. The 40N6 is complemented by the 48N6, 9M96E2 and 9M96E, which provide 250 km, 120 km and 60 km in range, respectively. The S-400 has also drawn interest from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and, reportedly, from Morocco and Pakistan.