Turkey activates some elements of its S-400 air defense missile systems

Turkey continues deploying Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile systems and has activated some of their elements, Head of Turkey’s Defense Industry Ismail Demir said on Friday, April 8.: “The process of deploying S-400s continues and certain systems have been put into operation," the newspaper Milliyet quoted him as saying.

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S-40 Triumf, or SA-21 Growler in NATO designation system (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Russia won’t have ‘the desired access’ to the S-400 systems deployed in Turkey, Head of Turkey’s Defense Industry Ismail Demir said: "Although the agreement on the deliveries includes provisions on the training [of the Turkish personnel], technical maintenance and technical support, the Russian personnel will not be able to get the desired access to S-400 batteries," Turkey’s defense industry chief said.

A spokesperson for the US Department of State Morgan Ortagus said on April 21 that Washington "is deeply concerned" with reports that Turkey was continuing its efforts to make the S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems operational.

Russia announced in September 2017 that it had signed a $2.5 billion deal with Turkey on the delivery of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems to Ankara. Under the contract, Ankara will get a regiment set of S-400 air defense missile systems (two battalions). The deal also envisages partial transfer of production technology to the Turkish side.

Turkey is the first – and so far only – NATO member state to purchase such air defense missile systems from Russia. The deliveries of S-400 launchers to Turkey began on July 12, 2019.

The United States and NATO have been making attempts to prevent Turkey from purchasing Russia's S-400 missile systems. Washington has warned on many occasions that it may impose sanctions on Turkey if Ankara presses ahead with the S-400 deal. On July 17, 2019, the press secretary of the US White House said in a written statement that Turkey’s decision to acquire Russian-made S-400 air defense systems rendered Ankara’s further participation in the US program of the fifth-generation F-35 fighter-bomber impossible and its already-built F-35As will be sold to another country.

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