Turkey takes delivery of first Russian S-400 Triumf missile system components

Turkey has taken delivery of Russian S-400 Triumph air defense system components, in spite of the U.S. warning that it would trigger sanctions from Washington and compromise Turkey’s implication in the Lockheed F-35 Lightning II programme, including the non-delivery of the two jets already produced and on which Turkish pilots are training in the U.S.

Turkey takes delivery of first Russian S 400 Triumf missile system components
S-400 Triumf air defense system (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The shipment of S-400 components arrived in an airbase in the capital Ankara on Friday, July 12, the Turkish defense ministry said in an announcement on Twitter. U.S. officials see Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 as the first step to closer ties with Russia and as a direct threat to the security of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet program. Turkey is taking part to the development and production process of the F-35s and intends to buy at least 100 of these aircraft. However, Pentagon officials have said they do not want the hi-tech jets to be located near Russian engineers, who would be working in Turkey to install and support the S-400 systems. “NATO countries need to procure military equipment that is interoperable with NATO systems. A Russian system would not meet that standard,” a U.S. State Department official told CNBC on Monday.

Any potential sanctions would come under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which President Donald Trump signed in August 2017. The serious threat made by Trump and repeated by Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters, new SACEUR and European Command head, hasn’t deterred president Erdogan from going on with the S-400 acquisition and delivered. Instead, Turkey has threatened the US of retaliation for any sanction actually implemented.