The Turkish Armed Forces will receive its first recently ordered S-400 surface-to-air missile systems this year, the Vice President of Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) Celal Sami Tufekci told TASS on 8 February.
“We tend to say 2019, this year,” the official said after delivering a speech at the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) in Washington.
Tufekci added that the relevant decision has already been made at the supreme level.
During the speech in SETA, Tufekci said Turkey decided to buy Russian-made systems because it was not satisfied by the terms of Washington’s proposal to buy US-made Patriot systems.
“What led Turkey to the acquisition of the S-400 was the policy put forward by the US. During the negotiations price was an issue, production location was an issue and technology transfer was an issue,” he said.
According to the official, it took US too long to finalize details of its proposal, which was received by Turkey only last month.
Earlier in the day, Turkey’s NTV channel reported citing a US source that the United States will call off the Patriot deal if Turkey persists with its intention to purchase the S-400 missile systems from Russia.
The S-400 deal, reportedly worth some $2.5 billion and in the works for more than a two years, has worried the West because the system cannot be integrated into NATO’s military architecture.
According to the CNBS channel, the Russian-made S-400 missile system, which is equipped with eight launchers and 32 missiles, is capable of targeting stealth warplanes like the F-35 fighter.