S-400 air defense missile system will go on combat duty in Turkey for 2020

Russian-made S-400 NATO reporting name SA-21 Growler, air defense missile systems will go on combat duty in Turkey in the spring of 2020 and operators are undergoing training at present, chief of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Dmitry Shugayev told reporters at Dubai Airshow-2019.

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S-400 TEL Transporter Erector Launcher unit of S-400 air defense missile system (Picture source Vitaly Kuzmin)

"By the end of this year, we will complete training of Turkish specialists and by spring the weapons will enter combat duty. We are doing everything with Turkish partners in line with our plan," Shugayev said. "Turkey as a NATO member-state has set an example for everyone, including for the Arab world," he stressed.

The first reports about the talks between Russia and Turkey on the deliveries of S-400 air defense missile systems emerged in November 2016. Russia confirmed in September 2017 that the $2.5 bln contract had been signed. Under the deal, Ankara will get a regimental set of S-400 air defense missile systems (two battalions). The contract also envisages a partial transfer of production technology to the Turkish side. The first deliveries began on July 12, 2019.

The United States and NATO have been seeking to stop the deal. The White House said in mid-July that Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible.

Russia began the delivery of S-400 Triumph missile defense systems to Turkey on July 12. According to the Turkish Defense Ministry, three cargo aircraft delivered several pull tractors and trans-loaders for S-400 to Murted Air Base on that day. Another Russian aircraft flew in the next day. The seventh Russian aircraft reportedly arrived at Murted on Sunday.

The first reports about Russian-Turkish talks for the delivery of S-400s to Turkey appeared in November 2016. On September 12, 2017, the Russian side confirmed that a contract had been concluded with Turkey. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that Turkey would start to deploy S-400 SAM systems in October 2019. Sergei Chemezov, director-general of the Russian State Corporation Rostec, said in December 2017 that the cost of delivery of S-400s to Ankara was estimated at 2.5 billion U.S. dollars.

The S-400 Triumf is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system (SAM) designed by Russia. It is able to destroy a wide range of aerial targets as aircraft, UAVs, cruise missiles and has a terminal ballistic missile defense capability. The missile of the S-400 has a range from 250 to 400 km, at an altitude of up to 30 km. The system can simultaneously engage 36 targets.