Worried by Turkey’s desire to buy advanced air and missile defense systems from Russia, the US Senate has drawn up a bill that could block the planned delivery of nearly 100 F-35 fighter aircraft from the US over Ankara’s plans to buy S-400.
Turkey’s decision to buy the S-400 air defense missile systems from Russia is “sacrificing” Ankara’s plan to equip its Air Force with the fifth generation fighters, the German N-TV media outlet reported.
Unfazed by US threats, Turkey remains all set to go ahead with the purchase of S-400 from Russia.
Since Ankara was prepared to shell out around $120 million for each F-35 aircraft, the Senators’ move could deal a serious blow to the most expensive fighter development program in US history, the report says.
The US government pins high hopes on the success of its high-tech military exports which, besides creating defense industry jobs at home also boost Washington’s military cooperation with its allies.
According to the German television network, instead of boosting its air defense with Russian-made S-400 systems, Turkey would be better off buying the F-35s which were set to form the backbone of the country’s air power.
The head of NATO’s cyber defense unit, Christian-Marc Liflander earlier said that the S-400 system is not compatible with the air defense systems currently used by the alliance.
Brussels also fears that the S-400’s radar could compromise US stealth technology secrets.
US-Turkish relations have soured since Ankara signed a loan agreement with Russia on the sale of the S-400 systems to Ankara.
According to the agreement, Ankara will buy two batteries of S-400 missiles to be be manned by Turkish military personnel. Russia also agreed to provide technological know-how for the production of a new generation of Turkish air defense systems.
NATO and US officials have repeatedly criticized Ankara’s push to buy Russian S-400 systems.
US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell earlier warned that Ankara’s purchase by Ankara of the S-400 missiles from Russia could reflect negatively on Washington’s decision to supply the F-35s to its NATO ally.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry has threatened retaliation if the US blocked the sale of the F-35 to the country.