The S-400 air defense system could give Turkey control over the airspace of a part of the Mediterranean and Syria, which is a territory where the United States and Israel routinely conduct aerial operations.
The reason why the US is vehemently opposed to Turkey acquiring the S-400 is because Washington and Israel may have to keep Ankara informed before launching an air-raid. Already, the S-400 systems deployed by the Russian military in Syria have forced Israel to enter into an understanding with Moscow, and can no longer operate with impunity.
“Although the US has dominated the air globally, the S-400 poses a danger even to stealth jets. So while the system is a bestseller for the Kremlin, it is a nightmare for NATO,” German journalist Gernot Kramper notes in his article for the Stern magazine.
According to Kramper, Ankara learned it is “only a second-class ally” after its request to purchase NATO-compatible US-made Patriot air defense batteries was denied. Moreover, in the war against Syria, other countries having the Patriot systems in possession were asked to defend Turkey.
The expensive US systems bring along with them the burdens of American imposed tactical limitations. On the other hand, the Russian-made batteries are capable of downing both Russian and US jets. In addition, Moscow has offered technology transfer along with an option of manufacturing components of the S-400 jointly with Ankara.
NATO risks losing confidentiality of their technology if Turkey uses its S-400 systems in conjunction with the former’s Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) units.
He concludes that in the long run, a country would not stop at the S-400, as air defenses work in combination with other systems, as “even an impressive weapon like the S-400” makes little sense on its own. Therefore, according to the journalist, Ankara would possibly add short-range defense systems and other radar complexes to “the wonder rocket.”