The U.S. State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Turkey of Patriot surface-to-air and ballistic missile defense missiles. The sale includes radars, control stations, missile tubes and other related equipment. The State Department said it had informed Congress of plans to sell Turkey a Patriot package that includes 80 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhance Missiles, 60 PAC-3 ballistic missile defense variants, and support equipment for a total estimated cost of $3.5 billion. The Patriot Advanced Capability-3 anti-ballistic missile system will support a key NATO ally, allow interoperability with other NATO states already using the missile, and will not significantly affect the balance of power in the region.
Turkey alrady hosts the AN/TPY-2 radar, the mobile forward deployed radar key to the Terminal High Altitude Defense anti-ballistic missile system. The THAAD is one of the primary ground-based missile interceptors deployed by the U.S. and its allies. Turkey has twice passed over the Patriot — in 2013 when it chose a Chinese system that it later dropped out of. Turkey has also been considering purchase of the Russian S-400 system designed for long range air defense and anti-ballistic defense. Pentagon officials and NATO leadership have been vocal that Turkey cannot be allowed to plug the S-400 into allied systems, such as integrating it with the F-35. Turkey is a member of NATO.
“The proposed sale will enhance Turkey’s interoperability with the United States and NATO, making it a more valuable partner in an increasingly important area of the world,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a press release. “Turkey will use Patriot to improve its missile defense capability, defend its territorial integrity, and deter regional threats,” the agency added. “The proposed sale will increase the defensive capabilities of the Turkey military to guard against hostile aggression and shield NATO Allies who might train and operate within Turkey’s borders.” As with all DSCA announcements, dollar values and quantities may vary at the end of the day; the Senate must OK a sale before the customer and the U.S. government enter contract negotiations.
The Patriot Advanced Capability-3 anti-ballistic missile system is a development of the original Patriot series of surface-to-air missile launchers. It is designed to be easily and fully integrated with the Missile Defense Agency-run Ballistic Missile Defense System as one of its land-based components. The system forms the Lower Tier layer of protection for the BMDS, working with other BMD platforms like the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense and Standard Missile-3 by engaging targets that the other systems have failed to intercept. The PAC-3 uses a “hit-to-kill” kinetic energy method to destroy ballistic missiles during their terminal descent phase. It also provides another source of search and targeting data that is networked with the other systems. The missiles are deployed in theaters around the world and have been widely exported to allied nations.