Turkish S-400s bought in 2017 have reached operational readiness

ANKARA ($1=18.64 Turkish Liras) — In 2017, Turkey announced that it was buying Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems. Ankara took this action after it did not accept the US offer to purchase the American MIM-104 Patriot anti-aircraft missile system. As a result of the acquisition of the S-400, Washington threatened Ankara to expel Turkey from the F-35 program. At the time, Turkey was an industrial partner in the program and was due to acquire over 100 fighters.

Russia and Turkey discuss the supply of an additional batch of S-400 missile system
Photo credit: AFP

Washington kicked Ankara out of the program and warned Turkey that it would be sanctioned under the CAATSA law if it brought the purchased S-400s to operational readiness. An exchange of remarks followed between senior political figures from the two ruling governments – the Turkish and the American. It came to a point that Turkish President Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not accept the ultimatum of his colleague from the White House and announced: “that Turkey is a sovereign country and decides for itself what weapons to buy to protect the territorial integrity of the country”.

Operational readiness

Today, Turkey’s Defense Minister announced on television that the Russian anti-aircraft missile systems purchased in 2017 have reached operational readiness. BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that Turkey paid Russia 2.5 billion USD for the missile systems, and in 2019 Russia announced that it had delivered what was ordered by Turkey.

Currently, the air defense systems that have reached operational readiness are two S-400 “Trump” battalions, consisting of four batteries with a total of 36 launchers and about 200 surface-to-air missiles. Separately, Turkey received partial technological access to the technology of Russian air defense systems as part of the deal. In 2021, Ankara purchased two more S-400 batteries.

Turkey already has the last generation missiles for its S-400 anti-aircraft systems
Photo credit: Twitter

In October 2020, Turkey conducted tests for the S-400 batteries purchased from Russia. Turkey then deployed the batteries in the province of Samson near the Black Sea. The Greek military informed at the time that Turkey had carried out tests of the system. The information was also confirmed by some politicians in the USA. Then US Senators James Lankford and Chris Van Holen, in a letter to the US Department of Defense, asked whether Turkey used the S-400 during the tests to simulate a radar lock on Greek F-16 fighter jets.

What S-400 missile system is?

S-400 Triumph is a Russian long-range and medium-range anti-aircraft missile system, anti-aircraft missile system [SAM]. S-400 is designed to destroy all modern and promising means of aerospace attack [including hypersonic].

According to Western analysts, the S-400, along with systems such as the Iskander OTRK and coastal anti-ship systems of the Bastion class, plays a key role in the new concept of the Russian Armed Forces, known in the West as the “Access Denied Zone” [Anti-Access / Area Denial, A2 / AD], which consists in the fact that NATO troops cannot be and move within the range of A2 / AD restricted area systems without the risk of causing unacceptable damage to them.

Photo credit: TASS

Triumph is the name of the export version. The market price of one division of the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system is about $ 500 million.

S-400 characteristics

The performance characteristics of the S-400 Triumph are: detects a target at a distance of 600 km; strikes a target at a distance of 400 km; the maximum speed of the hit target – 4.8 km / s; at the same time can fire 36 targets with pointing up to 72 missiles on them; deployment time of the system from the stowed state – 5-10 minutes; the time to bring the system’s assets into combat readiness from the deployed state is 3 minutes.

How does it 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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