ANKARA, ($1=9.71 Turkish Liras) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that his country has an interest in buying SAMP / T medium-range anti-aircraft missile systems in Italy, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing Defense Express. It seems that Erdogan seeks to “bargain” in the United States for the supply of the latest F-16 Block 70 fighters.
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Italy and France have worked together on the complex, but Erdogan insists on working with the Italians, as Paris and Ankara conflict dominance in Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean. This was reported by the portal Army Recognition.
The SAMP / T anti-aircraft missile system, or MAMBA, designated by the French Armed Forces, is designed to cover the combat formations of troops and infrastructure, such as airports and seaports, from the full range of air targets, such as aircraft and UAVs, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles with a range of up to 600 kilometers.
SAMP / T uses a two-stage anti-aircraft missile Aster 30 block 1. This missile is capable of intercepting air targets in the range of altitudes from 50 meters to 20 kilometers.
When intercepting a target at an altitude of more than 3 kilometers, the firing range of Aster 30 block 1 is 100 kilometers, when intercepting a target at an altitude of up to 3 kilometers, the firing range is 50 kilometers.
The news that Turkey can buy SAMP / T SAM in Italy coincides with two other news. In September 2021, Erdogan announced his intention to buy a new batch of Russian S-400 SAMs.
At the same time, at the end of October 2021, Turkey and the United States entered into negotiations on the possible supply of 40 newest SAMP / T fighters to the Turkish Air Force as a compensator for Ankara’s withdrawal from the F-35 aircraft program. And here it is worth recalling that the White House is consistently opposed to Turkey buying new S-400 from the Russians.
Turkey made a second attempt in Rome
As we reported in November 2, the US presidents and the Turkish president, Joe Biden, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, talked, inter alia, at the G20 summit in Rome on Sunday on the possible purchase by the Turkish side of the American F-16s, which would partially compensate for Ankara’s removal from the program of the fifth-generation F-35 machine after the purchase of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system.
Seventy minutes of talk in a “very positive atmosphere” – this is how the meeting was described in a statement by the Turkish presidential palace. It took place a few days after President Erdogan withdrew from the idea of ousting 10 ambassadors from Turkey, including one from America, who appealed to the authorities in Ankara to release Turkish opposition activist Osman Kavala.
The presidents discussed the issue of the purchase of American F-16s by Turkey. Biden said that “the procedures for selling these multi-role aircraft take time” and has committed to “continuing to do so,” the US administration said.
The US has no plans to sell the F-16s to Turkey
As we reported on October 20, Turkey’s desire to acquire the American F-16 fighters remains a mirage, for now, Ned Price said, a spokesman for the US State Department.
“The State Department does not approve or comment on proposed arms sales or transfers until it is formally notified by Congress. As far as Turkey is concerned, we very much appreciate our partnership with our NATO ally. Turkish authorities have publicly acknowledged their interest in buying F-16s. “The United States has not made any financial proposals at Turkey’s request for an F-16,” Price said.
As BulgarianMilitary.com reported earlier this month, Turkey was hoping to acquire 4 ++ generation fighters after Washington “reflected” Ankara’s aspirations to buy the F-35. The reason is known – the Russian S-400 system, which Turkey bought from Russia a year ago. According to unofficial information from Washington, there is another reason for the refusal of the Americans – information from military intelligence that the Turkish side supports terrorist groups in Syria.
Earlier, Ankara warned Washington that if the United States did not sell the F-16 to Turkey, Russia would become a supplier of Turkish aircraft, with some sources even citing a possible purchase of Russian Su-35 and Su-57 fighters.
However, signals from Russia are also not in favor of Turkey. It is said that Moscow does not intend to cooperate in this area with Ankara and will refuse any request from the Turks. The reasons are almost the same as those in Washington – the support of terrorist groups in Syria. Another reason is the fact that, as a NATO member, Turkey is an “aggressor” against Russia and its allies.
Military sales are frozen
As we announced back in August 2020, for almost two years [now three – ed.], members of the US Congress have been blocking arms deals for Turkey. The reason is the same – the purchase of the Russian air defense system S-400 and the activation by Ankara.
The exact number of blocked contracts is not disclosed, but it is stated that at least two of them are large. One of these contracts concerns the modernization of F-16 fighters. This information was then confirmed by the American edition of Defense News.
The defense industry then signaled that such actions could ruin relations between the contractors and Turkey would start looking for new partners.
The United States resorted to similar measures in 1975 after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. The United States then suspended arms sales to Turkey for three years.
The case S-400
The reason Turkey currently does not have fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighters is Ankara’s decision to buy S-400 air defense systems from Russia two years ago. This has caused dissatisfaction in both the United States and NATO member states.
Although NATO remained somewhat isolated from the dispute and more conservative in its statements, the United States took decisive action and expelled Turkey from the F-35 project. In addition to depriving Ankara of the opportunity to receive new fighters, this led to economic sanctions from Washington, which further aggravated the situation.
Turkey, for its part, is not giving up on Russian air defense systems. Described as the best in the world at the moment, Turkish officials have repeatedly stated that the price at which they were offered to buy the S-400 is much lower than the one that Washington has offered for its Patriots.
The situation is even more complicated, and Turkey’s chances of acquiring new F-16 fighters and modernizing its existing flotilla are dwindling, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed just days ago that Turkey will buy a second batch of the same Russian systems.
Is it just business?
Turkey says it sees no problem in using Russian S-400 air defense systems. According to military analysts, the reason Turkey turned to Russia was the high cost of US Patriot systems. But that system has failed in the last two years in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. They were repeatedly attacked with missiles at targets in the Green Zone of Baghdad, and Patriot was unable to intercept all the missiles. The same thing happened during the rocket and drone attack on the Aramco oil refinery in Saudi Arabia.
The United States claims that it is not compatible for the Russian S-400 air defense system to operate “under one flag” with their fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighters, because of link 16. Link 16 is the data and communication NATO and West standard. According to Washington, through the S-400 the Russians will be able to access sensitive data on stealth technology and the avionics of their F-35s.
It is known and proven that the Russian air defense system S-400 manages to intercept stealth aircraft and deal with them more successfully than any other air defense system in the world. Russia is already upgrading its anti-aircraft missile division with this system and has recently begun arming itself with its latest S-500 air defense system, believed to be able to counter hypersonic missiles or strike a satellite in low orbit around the Earth.
Turkey has a chance with its own fighter
It is known that Turkey is developing its next generation TF-X fighter. However, there are still problems with financing and delivery of key components. However, the engine can be an easier problem to solve.
As we reported earlier this year, the Ukrainian company FED to supply tens of millions of dollars in components for new helicopters and planes to Turkey. The third contract with Turkish partners this year was signed during the International Exhibition IDEF-2021.
The FED during the recent arms exhibition in Turkey signed another contract with local customers. Probably, it is a question of designing and manufacturing new components for the heavy Turkish attack helicopter ATAK-II. “Development and supply for one year. These are units of the helicopter flight control system and hydraulic systems,” said Viktor Popov, Chairman of the Board of FED, President of Ukraviaprom.The chairman of the board of the Fed added that during the current year the company has already signed three contracts with Turkish partners.
“Two contracts are helicopter-themed. In addition, we participate in the TF-X (Turkish Fighter Experimental) program. It is a fifth-generation aircraft, a fighter. It is also a huge job, very short deadlines. It is important that the planned development and This means that we are fully loading our engineers, technologists, and production” said Victor Popov. “In total, these contracts are more than $ 20 million,” the head of the FED added.
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