Turkish officials recently confirmed that a second batch of Russian missiles is set to be delivered to Ankara in the next month or so, sparking fea
Turkish officials recently confirmed that a second batch of Russian missiles is set to be delivered to Ankara in the next month or so, sparking fears within the White House that President Tayyip Erdogan was inching ever closer to choosing Vladimir Putin over Donald Trump. The US wanted Ankara to buy US Patriot missiles – but experts have confirmed that the Russian weapons are far superior, and may have diplomatic implications for the region.
Washington officials claim that the S-400 systems are not compatible with NATO missiles.
They are also concerned that it would open up their F-35 fighter jets to subterfuge by Moscow.
However, in spite of US pressure, Turkey went with the Russian option – which, according to a US intel firm, was probably the right choice.
Stratfor claimed that sophisticated sensors, precise aiming, flexible targeting capabilities and anti-stealth measures make the system one of the most effective in the world.
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The S-400 missiles – “superior”
It concluded: “The Russian S-400 is arguably one of the best all-around strategic SAM systems in operation today.”
The S-400 Triumph is an anti-aircraft system that can fire at targets up to 400km away and hit targets with an altitude of 27km.
The system’s 12 launchers can fire several different types of rocket and, according to military expert Richard Connolly, its cheap price makes it even more attractive.
Stratfor’s analyst was backed up by retired fighter jet commander Kapil Kak, who claimed that the S-400 was the best in the world because of its uniformity as well as effectiveness.
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He added: “My back up on calculation is that S-400 is superior than any other system, be that the American Patriot.
“It also depends on Patriot derivate that is on offer. For S-400, we know exactly what it means. We are not sure when Americans talk to us about Patriots.
“It has been used in the Gulf War and upgraded subsequently. But as far as the configuration, we know, it is not superior to S-400. I do not think, it will either interest Turkey or India.”
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The S-400 missiles have 12 launchers
The US-made MIM-104 Patriot missile is seen as less reliable and flexible, as well as more expensive.
Initially deployed during the 2003 Iraq War, its range is just 70km and it can only fire at targets below an altitude of 24km.
It means, according to TRT analyst Abdullah Masri, that Ankara was willing to risk Trump’s wrath if it meant getting their hands on the S-400 system.
He wrote: “Russia’s S-400 missile platform is the best in its class and can’t be compared to the US Patriot system.
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“For one, the Patriot is a defensive system. Second, and more importantly, the Patriot platform is surrounded in myth, and what little performance data is available about it shows a shockingly poor performance.
“Given Turkey’s geopolitical neighbourhood, procuring a defensive missile system that only works one time in four is something arguably hard to justify to the Turkish electorate.
“Turkey’s surrounding region will not stabilise short of a strong state that can project authority and stability, demanding a strong offensive and defensive offset capability that the S-400 provides.
Relying on the US for this would be folly given how many times American unilateralism has diverged from Turkey’s interests, as with its arming the YPG and the groups that gave rise to ISIS.”
The S-400 missiles can fire further and higher than the US Patriots
As well as Turkey, India has floated the idea of purchasing Russian missiles.
China were the first to buy the S-400s, with 100 troops being trained by Moscow earlier this month in how to use them.
The US and Turkey were locked in a diplomatic battle last month over the missile purchases, with Washington officials threatening harsh sanctions on Ankara.
While Trump did pull Turkey out of the F-35 fighter jet programme, there has surprisingly been no economic punishment, despite Congress attempting to strong-arm the President into doing so last week.