Turkey to create its air defense system instead of the S-400

ANKARA, (BM) – The head of the Turkish administration of the defense industry, Ismail Demir, announced that the Russian S-400 air defense systems are fully operational, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24. Earlier, at the beginning of December, the Russians informed about the full fulfillment of the agreement.

Ankara announced the readiness of the systems on January 11 this year. Thus a little over a month after the delivery time. Despite the introduction of further US sanctions in December 2020 and earlier blocking Turkey’s purchase of the 5th generation F-35A Lightning II multi-role aircraft, the Turks remained adamant.

The decision was made even though Ankara is a member of the aircraft’s construction program. However, the Turks’ threat, having both the S-400 and the F-35, would develop methods of detecting this aircraft was too significant. Much more generous than the introduction of Russian-made kits to the NATO defense system.

Despite what the Turks emphasize now, the refusal to sell these machines did not block Turkish companies’ participation, which is still part of this aircraft’s global supply chain.

According to the 2017 agreement, Turkey bought 4 S-400 Triumf batteries with 36 launchers and at least 192 missiles for a value of 2.5 billion. It seemed that this investment would be followed by its expansion just a month ago, but apparently, Ankara has other plans.

“There would be a second S-400 regiment in Turkey today. It would be like if we followed the quick and easy path, but we strive for the maximum,” declared Demir today, “With the information we learn from the S-400 experience, we plan to achieve a similar level in our work to create our air defense systems.” As he added, these systems are to be ready in 2025 or 2026.

This decision may mean an inevitable shift in Ankara’s policy to date. However, it must be admitted that it has, in fact, consistently been striving for years to develop independent solutions in various areas. These actions were successful for the lower tiers [short and very short range defense], and now the aim is to qualify in mid-range systems.

Time will show the extent to which the “own” Turkish system will result from their independent technical thought using only perceived solutions and how it will depend on Russia and its technology. And what will the Americans say to all this, who, on the one hand, can continue a further sanctions policy, and on the other hand, support the project of Turkization and Westernization of advanced Russian technical solutions, de facto having no excuse to introduce sanctions.

The US waited until the last minute to impose sanctions on Turkey

The outgoing Trump administration eventually decided to do what it had promised for two years. On December 15, 2020, US officially imposed sanctions on Ankara for the purchase of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft systems.

Something the world had been waiting for a long time and no longer believed would happen. Trump has been threatening Turkey with these sanctions for a long time. So long that Erdogan did not take it seriously and ordered more Russian S-400 systems. Moreover, Turkey and Russia will do them together.

What do the sanctions include? The sanctions will block joint projects and technology transfers between US companies and Turkish companies linked to a Turkish military supply agency. They also impose restrictions on loans from US financial institutions to the agency in question totaling more than $ 10 million. Besides, assets are frozen, and visa restrictions are introduced for its chairman and three other staff. According to Reuters, it is not immediately clear the impact of sanctions on third countries, such as European countries that supply weapons or defense components and work with Turkish defense companies.

Greece has declared Turkish tests of the S-400 a failure

The test launch in October last year of the S-400 missile opened the debate on whether it poses a threat to the Greek Air Force and whether with this system Turkey “locks” the Aegean as well as the majority of the Battle Wings that take off the blue wings.

First of all, Russian media reports speak of failed test shots from Turkey, as they claim that they failed to hit the missile – the target for which it was intended. Maybe this is the real reason why they have not released – so far – videos from the Turkish Ministry of Defense, nor has there been any other leak that proves the opposite of the Russian allegations.

“The first military use of the S-400 missile defense system by the Turkish army failed due to Ankara’s refusal to assist Russian military specialists,” the Russian website wrote. The videos published by the Turks show the rocket launches and it all ends there. Nowhere does the moment of the hit of the target seem to have been recorded, nor was there the sound of the explosion of the missile warhead, as informed by the experts, referred to by the website.

“Ankara has so far made no official statements about the rocket launches, however, the most surprising thing is that while the targets used, according to local media, for the S 400 were the right ones, nowhere did they appear in the sky, although “there were no clouds,” the statement said.

According to experts, the S-400 system can only be tested on missiles or fighter jets, but not on small drones. “The absence of a trace of a target flight, the absence of a missile warhead explosion and the straight flight path of a missile are worrying elements.”

However, the Turkish media reported that a total of three targets were hit, but in the numerous videos one can see only one launch, which also raises many questions.

How does the Triumph air defense system work?

The S-400 Triumph is not just an installation for launching missiles, but a whole complex of coordinated and complex systems, the components of which are located on high-cross-country vehicles. The entire process from detecting to destroying a target occurs automatically:

  • The radar system (radar) detects hundreds of targets within a radius of 600 km and determines their nationality.
  • Data is sent to the command post (55K6E). He, in turn, distributes targets between several launchers (5P85TE2).
  • Each command post can simultaneously control eight air defense systems, each of which carries up to 12 launchers. They, in turn, accommodate four missiles with different masses, launch ranges and capabilities.
  • Depending on the type of target, an air defense system selects a missile. The S-400 Triumph is armed with missiles with different weights, launch ranges and capabilities: 48N6E, 48N6E2, 48N6E3, 9M96E and 9M96E2.
  • Ultra-long-range missiles (up to 400 km) are capable of destroying targets even beyond the reach of targeting locators, for which they have unique homing heads. After climbing at the command of such a rocket itself goes into search mode.


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