S-400 Triumf Long-Range Air Defense
S-400 Triumf Long-Range Air Defense

US Senator Proposes Buying Russian-Made S-400 Air Defense Systems from Turkey

Defense News reported that the United States could buy the Russian-Made S-400 air defense systems from Turkey under legislation proposed to cushion the blow and ease tensions between Washington and Ankara over the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Under CAATSA, or the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, passed in 2017, any nation procuring a major defense article from Russia should face major sanctions. U.S. President Donald Trump has held off imposing sanctions against Turkey for its purchase, but the sale remains a sticking point in the relationship. Turkey President Erdogan has refused to give up the system, despite warnings from Washington that the S-400 could compromise the stealthy F-35.

Last week, Senate Majority Whip John Thune, representing South Dakota, proposed amendment to the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would allow the S-400 purchase to be made using the U.S. Army’s missile procurement funds. The move comes a year after the U.S. expelled NATO ally Turkey from the multinational F-35 program because it received the S-400 in a $2.5 billion deal. The U.S. routinely buys foreign technology and could both exploit the S-400′s technology. If Turkey doesn’t go for the idea, the two countries are still stuck. The US buying the S-400s from Turkey is a clever way of getting Erdogan out of the jam he put himself in and if it enables the Turks to take part in the F-35 then all the better.

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Russia Starts Delivery of S-400 System to Turkey
Russia Starts Delivery of S-400 System to Turkey (PhotO: Russian MoD)

In late 2017, the president of Turkey and Russian officials signed a US$2.5 billion agreement for delivery of the S-400 air defence system units. The US Secretary of State raised concerns over the deal, but President Erdogan and other Turkish officials rejected the US threat of sanctions, citing existing international protocols agreed to by Turkey and Russia and that the S-400 offer with Russia was a better deal than the MIM-104 Patriot system offered by US. The US threatened Turkey with CAATSA sanctions and on 17 July suspended Turkey from the F-35 program, stating “F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities”. As of 2020, 4 batteries consisting of 36 fire units, and 192+ missiles were delivered to Turkey.

The S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler), previously known as the S-300PMU-3, is an anti-aircraft weapon system developed in the 1990s by Russia’s Almaz Central Design Bureau as an upgrade of the S-300 family. It has been in service with the Russian Armed Forces since 2007. Dr Alexander Lemanskiy was the Chief Engineer of Almaz-Antey on the S-400 project.In 2017, the S-400 was described by The Economist as “one of the best air-defence systems currently made”. For export to foreign customers, for integrating existing customer air defense systems, additional work on improvement of the 30K6E administration system for information technology pairing with anti-kets is in progress.

Russia Starts Delivery of S-400 System to Turkey
Russia Starts Delivery of S-400 System to Turkey (PhotO: Russian MoD)
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