As Turkey cozies up to Moscow, Washington is attempting to appease Erdogan, who had earlier signed an agreement with Putin to buy Russian-made armaments despite being a NATO member.
Following Turkey’s intention to buy Russian S-400 Triumf advanced missile defense system, the US State department has also cleared Ankara’s request to purchase short-range Patriot air defense system at an estimated price of $3.5 billion. Despite US sanctions on Russia, the former’s decision marks a reversal in Washington’s policy of economically isolating the latter’s arms consumers.
The deal involves procurement of 80 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Munitions and 60 PAC-3 Segment Enhancement missiles, as well as associated equipment.
Prior to this development, Turkish Procurement Office had confirmed in December that Ankara and Moscow had finalized an agreement for the acquisition of Russian S-400 long-range air and anti-missile defense system. The Russian system excels over its American counterpart in range, effectiveness and detection apparatus.
Turkey has always insisted on a transfer of missile technology regarding both S-400 and Patriot air defense system. However, America previously declined to do so. The DSCA in its statement said: “At this time offset agreements are undetermined and will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and contractors,” indicating that transfer of technology between the two is indeed a sensitive issue.
A department spokesperson, speaking ahead of the announcement, said: “[Turkey] will use Patriot to improve its air and missile defense capability, defend its territorial integrity, and deter regional threats. The proposed sale will increase the defensive capabilities of the Turkish military to guard against hostile aggression and shield NATO allies who might train and operate within Turkey’s borders.”
The Patriot Missile Defense System package includes four AN/MPQ-65 Radar Sets, four Engagement Control Stations, 10 Antenna Mast Groups, 20 M903 Launching Stations, and five Electrical Power Plant III systems, apart from the actual interceptor missiles. However, the Senate must approve the deal before Ankara and Washington enter contract negotiations.
The S-400 is a major issue in the military relationship between the U.S. and Turkey. Pentagon and NATO officials have already said that Turkey cannot be allowed to install the S-400 into allied systems, such as integrating it with the Fifth Generation F-35 jet.