TechTurkey's potential transfer of S-400 systems to Ukraine stirs both U.S. and Russia

Turkey's potential transfer of S‑400 systems to Ukraine stirs both U.S. and Russia

S-400 anti-aircraft defense systems - illustrative photo
S-400 anti-aircraft defense systems - illustrative photo
Images source: © Wikimedia Commons

11:11 AM EST, February 5, 2024, updated: 4:16 AM EST, March 7, 2024

The use of S-400 by Turkey has been a subject of dispute for a while. In 2019, US authorities asserted that because Turkey was deploying these Russian air defence systems, they were ineligible to purchase F-35 fighters. Last year, the controversy arose again, with debates about NATO expansion and ongoing negotiations regarding Turkey's procurement of aircraft from the Atlantic.

Is Turkey willing to forgo the S-400?

After the Turkish President ratified Sweden's NATO accession, the US authorities agreed to sell F-16 fighters to Turkey. They also suggested that Turkey's reinstatement into the F-35 program could be possible under certain conditions.

"We still believe that Turkey's involvement in the F-35 program is incompatible with its use of the S-300 and S-400. As such, we continue these discussions. If Turkey could alleviate our concerns? Then there could be a possibility for them to rejoin the F-35 program," stated John Kirby, National Security Council spokesperson, at the end of January.

Being a NATO member, Turkey has been openly supporting Ukraine, including supplying Bayraktar TB2 drones (with plans to build a service center in Ukraine), Cobra II armored vehicles, and T-155 Firtina self-propelled howitzers.

The Ukrainian portal Defence Express highlights that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has the ability to negotiate not only with the West but also with the East. The S-400 is a weapon produced by Russia, a country that still has numerous ties with Turkey. Sending Russian-provided weaponry to Ukraine would deal a significant blow to Putin, which, according to Defence Express, could be seen as a "stab in the back."

The Russian missile system, S-400

The S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft system was developed in the 1990s and possesses far superior capabilities than the S-300, its predecessor. It is a ground-to-air anti-aircraft system capable of intercepting aircraft, helicopters, ballistic missiles traveling at a speed of approx. 2.98 miles/s, and drones.

The launchers' range varies based on the type of missiles utilized. It can range from roughly 25 miles (for a 9M96 missile weighing around 772 lbs) to as much as 236 miles (for a 40N6E missile weighing approximately 3968 lbs).

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