The first batch of equipment components for the S-400 long-range air and missile defence system arrived at Mürted Airport in Ankara, Turkey, on 12 July, according to information released by the Turkish Ministry of National Defence.
Official sources in Moscow confirmed the Turkish statement, while government comments in both capitals have followed the line of ‘nothing unusual here – both parties are fulfilling their obligations under the existing contract.’
The original contract between Turkey and Russia was signed in April 2017 and has been the subject of increasingly acrimonious exchanges between Ankara and Washington, which is threatening to eject Turkey from the F-35 programme, in which it has been a major international participant. That ejection and its effects was a subject of considerable debate at the Paris Air Show last month, where Turkey unveiled its TF-X next-generation fighter aircraft, much of the design of which has been influenced by the nation’s experience in the F-35 programme.
Turkey’s $2.5 billion (€2.2 billion) acquisition of the Russian missile system brings the Turkish armed forces the capability to intercept and destroy aircraft as well as ballistic and cruise missiles at ranges of up to 400km and altitudes of 35,000 metres. The S-400 TRIUMF (NATO reporting name SA-21 GROWLER) has been in Russian service since 2007.
Diplomatic sources suggest that the two Russian aircraft that delivered the initial equipment were carrying part of an S-400 regiment scale of equipment and that a batch of 120 missiles will be dispatched by sea later this summer.