Russia plans to complete its shipment of sophisticated S-400 anti-air, anti-missile systems to Turkey by the end of this year, according to Tass, which quoted CEO of Russia’s hi-tech corporation Rostec Sergei Chemezov at the 14th IDEX-2019 international defense show on Monday.
“We have signed the contract and we will complete the deliveries by the end of this year. We will deliver all the systems this year,” he said, according to the newswire.
The news comes as the United States continues to oppose the sale, even going so far as to warn Turkey — a NATO member — that going through with the purchase would have negative long-term consequences.
On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence, speaking to attendees at the Munich Security Conference, said the Trump administration “will not stand by idly while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries.
“We cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East,” he added.
The Trump administration established a Feb. 15 deadline for Ankara to indicate its intention to stop the sale, according to a U.S. military official who spoke to Military Times. If Turkey refuses to do so, a forthcoming sale of the U.S.-made Patriot missile defense system would be stopped.
“We have been clear with Turkey,” the U.S. official said. “The will not receive the Patriot if they purchase the S-400.”
If the Tass report is accurate, however, it appears as though Turkey is planning to go ahead with the purchase of S-400 systems.
“Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar earlier said that the deployment of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems would begin in October 2019,” Tass reported.
The S-400 reportedly has a range of about 250 miles and can strike targets up to 18.5 miles high.
The U.S. is concerned if it goes ahead with the Patriot missile sale that Turkey will allow PAC-3 technology to be accessed by Russian officials.