Turkey promises allies to protect secrets of S-400 defense system and F-35 fighter
ANKARA, (BM) – Turkey promises to protect the secret data of the Russian C-400 anti-aircraft missile systems from leakage as well as the data of the fifth-generation F-35 American fighter, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing the head of the Turkish Defense Industry Directorate Ismail Demir.
In response to US concerns about the S-400, Ismail Demir said: “Turkey will launch the S-400 alone to protect the F-35 program and its weapons systems.”
He also said that Turkey promises Russia to protect data from S-400 systems, the newspaper said. “Russia has expressed concern about the S-400 data, and Turkey promises to protect these systems.”
Despite US statements about Turkey’s withdrawal from the fifth-generation F-35 fighter program, Ankara continued to manufacture ordered components for the aircraft.
In total, Turkish firms produce about 1000 parts for the F-35 program, and the withdrawal of their production from the country will increase the cost of each aircraft by $ 7-9 million and cause great damage to all program participants. As a result, the Pentagon agreed to supply Turkish parts for the new aircraft until 2022, the newspaper writes.
A Pentagon spokesman said the US has identified alternative sources of supply for the F-35 parts that are currently being manufactured in Turkey. As Turkish contracts expire, the U.S. Army will enter into new contracts with other manufacturers.
Recall that Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian S-400 air defense systems prompted Washington to exclude Turkey from the joint program to develop fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets. The United States claims that Russia could use its development to obtain secret information about the American aircraft.
According to Pentagon officials, Turkish companies produce 817 out of 24,000 F-35 body parts, and 188 out of 3,000 engine parts.
US Senate calls on Pentagon not to buy parts for F-35 from Turkey
As we reported on July 13 a group of US senators from both parties called on the Pentagon to stop purchasing components of F-35 fighter jets from Turkey.
In a letter sent to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Monday, lawmakers warned the Pentagon that any plans to purchase components of F-35 fighter jets from Turkey undermine US pressure on the country in connection with its purchase of the Russian S-400 defense system.
A letter signed by Democratic Senators Gene Shahin and Chris Van Hollen, Republican Senators James Lankford and Tom Tillis, which indicated that Under Secretary of State Ellen Lord said the Department would terminate Turkey’s participation in early 2020. However, this promise was not fulfilled, the letter indicated.
Instead, a Pentagon official recently announced that Turkish contractors will continue to produce key components for F-35 fighters until the end of 2022.
In a letter, lawmakers also pointed to a violation of human rights by the Turkish government, adding that they “remain concerned about the direction that Turkey is taking under the leadership of President (Recep Tayyip – ed.) Erdogan.”
“From human rights violations in Syria and Iraq to arbitrary arrests of Americans in Ankara and defense cooperation with Russia, Turkey does not act as a responsible entity and does not cooperate with the West at the level that we expect from a NATO ally,” the letter said.
The financial side of the problem
If Turkey is ejected from the F-35 program, it would deal an immediate blow to the production rate for new planes and place fresh stress on an already strained supply chain, Vice Adm. Mat Winter said on April 5 2019.
In the latest in the ongoing controversy over how the US and NATO might react if Turkey goes ahead with its planned purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, F-35 program manager Vice Adm. Mathias Winter told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that “the evaluation of Turkey stopping would be between 50- and 75-airplane impact over a two-year period.”
That hit to production comes from the 6 percent to 7 percent of the aircraft’s parts that are made in Turkey, Winter said, and “we would see within 45 to 90 days an impact of the slowing down or stopping of those parts to the three production lines.”
The loss of those parts would be felt acutely as the approximately 3,000 suppliers working on the F-35 “are struggling with the demand signal on them,” Winter added, as more planes enter service and older ones are increasingly in need of repair.
Why S-400 and F-35 are incompatible?
If Turkey acquired the S-400 alongside the F-35, the technology that makes that aircraft lethal could potentially be compromised. This opinion was expressed by hundreds of experts last year, including us.
NATO states use a tactical data link that allows military aircraft and even ships and ground troops to share their tactical pictures in near-real time. This is called Link 16. NATO aircraft also use Identification Friend or Foe systems, known as IFF, to identify friendly aircraft in the sky.
An IFF and Link 16 interrogator would have to be integrated into the S-400 system to allow the Turkish F-35, with the transponder, to fly within lethal range of the S-400.
This opens up all Link 16 and IFF tactical data link equipment to be compromised, a former radar and weapons expert said on background.
“With the F-35 flying in close proximity to the S-400 system, over time, you could collect sensitive stealth characteristics of this F-35 and learn its detailed stealth capabilities,” the expert said.
Turkey is currently negotiating a second order for the S-400 systems
Negotiations between Russia and Turkey on the delivery of the second set of S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft systems are in an advanced stage, the head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) Dmitry Shugaev said in July 2.
“Negotiations are underway, this is a laborious process that requires a certain amount of time. But given the current restrictions in connection with the pandemic, it is not very grateful to predict the terms of concluding this contract,” TASS quoted him as saying.
Shugaev noted that at the moment the parties are awaiting the final decision of Turkey.
Russia and Turkey signed a multi-billion dollar contract for the supply of S-400 Triumph air defense systems in 2017. The deal provoked strong discontent from the United States. Washington threatened Ankara with sanctions, and then expelled her from the F-35 fighter program.
On April 30, an official representative of the Turkish leader, Ibrahim Kalyn, announced the suspension of the transaction for the supply of S-400 systems due to the coronavirus.
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