Turkey will begin testing the radars of its new Russian-made S-400 air defense systems, against Lockheed F-16 jets over a period of two days.
The fighters, along with other jets, will perform high and low altitude test flights on 25th and 26th of November for Turkey to test S-400 radars, Milliyet reported.
The S-400 has been the apple of discord between Ankara and Washington, with the latter having tried persuading the former to pull out of a $2.5 billion deal with Russia for the systems, ever since it was signed in 2017. The first batch of military equipment were delivered to Turkey this July, and were deployed at the Mürted Airbase in Ankara. The air defense systems are set to be activated once training of Turkish personnel is concluded.
On Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported that the head of Russia’s state-run Rosoboronexport said that Moscow was planning to sign a new contract for S-400s with Turkey by mid-2020.
“We hope that in the first half of 2020 we will sign contract documents. However, I want to emphasize that military-technical cooperation with Turkey is not limited to the supply of S-400s. We have big plans ahead,” Alexander Mikheev reportedly said.
Meanwhile, Christopher Van Hollen, US Senator for Maryland, has said that Turkey “crossed another red line” by commencing the tests.
"Two weeks after his White House visit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is thumbing his nose at Trump, the US + NATO, and crossing another red line on S-400s," Hollen said in a Twitter post.
"Existing law requires Trump to impose sanctions. Pompeo must also confront Turkey about its latest ‘safe zone’ violations and attacks against the Kurds," he added.
When Turkey began Operation Peace Spring in Syria on October 9, US Senators Van Hollen and Lindsey Graham outlined arms embargo and sanctions against Turkey for attacking Kurdish forces and S-400 buy.
In the Graham-Van Hollen Turkey Sanctions Bill, they asked to remove CAATSA waiver, define Tukey’s S-400 purchase as a “significant transaction under Section 231 of CAATSA” and implement the sanctions within 180 days from designating as significant.
The bill includes sanctions “against any foreign person who sells or provides financial, material, or technological support or knowingly does a transaction with the Turkish military” including “aircraft or aircraft parts, machinery, used by the Turkish Air Force, automotive equipment and services utilized by the Turkish Land and Naval Forces, and weapons or defense articles utilized by the Turkish Military.”
It also prohibits the sale of US defense hardware, services, technology, materials to the Turkish Armed Forces.
Following India's advance payment of around $800 million, Russia has launched production of S-400 missile defense systems for the country. "The advance payment has been made
Turkey's S-400 systems will be put to service by April 2020, said Ismail Demir, head of the Turkish Defense Industry Directorate. "We are planning to put the Russian systems into service in April 2020," Demir was quoted as saying by CNN Turk on Saturday
European missile consortium MBDA has indicated plans to build an interceptor missile system that will counter ballistic, cruise missile as well as latest generation fighter jets. MBDA decided to move ahead with the program following the greenlighting of the TWISTER (Timely Warning and Interception with Space-based TheatER surveillance) project, by the Council of the European Union, last week
The president of Serbia denied having plans of buying S-400 air defense systems from Russia owing to cost issues, on Wednesday. "From what I saw, this is an impressive system
Russian battalion in the Northern Fleet will be equipped with S-400 air defense systems to shield the Russian Arctic region from aerial threats, by the end of this year. "This year, S-400 systems will enter service with the air defense missile regiment stationed on Novaya Zemlya
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is currently searching for a solution on Turkey's S-400 buy and is looking at how to combine the Russian air defense systems with American Patriots. "The Alliance is searching for a solution in connection with Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, was quoted as saying by reports RIA Novosti
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