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The game behind the scenes: why did Erdogan need Russian missiles. Why Turkey buys C-400 from Russia and goes to a conflict with the US

The game behind the scenes: why did Erdogan need Russian missiles. Why Turkey buys C-400 from Russia and goes to a conflict with the US

August 2 2018
Tags: Turkey, Middle East, USA, Russia, Armament, Air Defense, Analytics, Politics

Turkey consciously went on exacerbating relations with Washington, signing an agreement with Russia and supplying the missile system C-400. Now the US can block the supply of Ankara F-35 fighters. American experts at the same time believe that Recep Tayyip Erdogan is playing his game with the White House. "Gazeta.ru" figured out what the objectives pursued by the parties to this conflict of interest.

When Turkey in December 2017 signed a loan agreement worth $ 2,5 billion to supply Russian S-400 air defense missile systems, it guaranteed Ankara future collision with Washington. The confrontation was reflected in the draft law on "The US budget for 2019 year for national defense needs," which set out the conditions that frozen the supply of Turkish American fighters 5-th generation F-35, Defense News reported.

Not later than 60 days after the law on the budget comes into force, the head of the US Department of Defense should send a report on the status of relations between the United States and the Republic of Turkey to the congressional committees. Only after this agreement on the supply of Turkish American fighter aircraft can get real power.

But if we move away from purely political maneuvers, demarches and loud statements, foreign analysts note that Moscow in terms of deliveries of C-400 produced all the necessary actions and approvals very quickly and practical, always a step or two ahead of the development of events.

Ankara very much wanted Russia to transfer the necessary technologies and that in future the production of Triumph SAMs would be carried out in Turkish territory.

However, so far there have been no public statements about the possibility of joint production of S-400 SAM systems by Turkey and Russia. In solving this issue, foreign analysts say, Washington's hand is felt. The Pentagon is least interested in the fact that cooperation in the production of weapons and military equipment between Russia and Turkey has gone so far.

In addition, many intentions of Ankara to acquire Russian-made anti-aircraft missile systems are seen by a certain game led by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

There is a suggestion that Turkey, demonstratively deepening its interaction with Moscow, is thereby trying to obtain from Washington the transfer of missile defense technologies, worked out, in particular, in the air defense / patrol system "Patriot".

"Turkey has for a long time tried various schemes for extortion of technologies in the field of air defense / missile defense from Western corporations and companies," said a senior researcher at the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA), a researcher at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Science Center ) Michael Kofman.

According to him, Western defense companies and corporations unequivocally refuse to transfer technology to Turkey, which can later export weapons and military equipment produced to third countries.

This story did not begin yesterday. After Turkey did not persuade the US to agree to the transfer of technology, threatening to buy Chinese air defense systems, Ankara tried to do this with Russia - and negotiations began on selling the S-400 SAM.

But the problem is that the "Patriot" system and the C-400 are very different in terms of execution and designation of anti-aircraft missile systems.

S-400 SAM, according to the authors of Defense News, is a highly mobile system, but it is designed to be deployed behind the lines of combat contact of the parties to an armed conflict in order to primarily protect critical infrastructure facilities.

The Triumph missile system has a long range of firing, while the Patriot is a medium-range system. In this sense, S-400 and "Patriot" are two different classes of anti-aircraft missile systems, the US edition emphasizes.

Erdoğan's games?

Initially, Turkey considered purchasing the S-300VM SAM (or Antei-2500) as an option, which was much more optimized for carrying out air defense tasks for the ground forces. However, this story ended, by and large, nothing.

In the end, Ankara opted for the purchase of S-400 SAM, which has a range of firing at 250 km. Apparently, the Turkish side was impressed by the high firepower of the system and its ability to perform combat missions in a complicated interference situation.

At the same time, various maneuvers and demarches of Turkey, as well as a multi-way Turkish party with Washington, did not escape Moscow's attention.

Nevertheless, the Kremlin was frankly pleased with the possible supplies of the "Triweif" SAM to the Turkish side. In the end, in this issue, Moscow had absolutely nothing to lose.

Turkish purchases of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems provide Moscow with many political victories: Russian weapons are supplied to the NATO country, Turkey is dependent on Russia in terms of training and use of weapons, such purchases of weapons drive a wedge between Ankara and its allies in the North Atlantic Alliance .

Moscow will also receive certain financial benefits, regardless of how the situation will develop with the purchase of C-400 systems, Michael Kaufman believes.

At the same time, Russia, according to the expert, suspects that Turkey simply extorts additional preferences from the United States to improve further cooperation, and at some point Erdogan may try to quit the game.

But we can not rule out the situation in which the Turkish president will fall into the same set of networks, said Michael Kofman. According to the analyst, Moscow has already arranged conditions for the purchase of S-400 SAMs, that Turkey will lose money under any development of the situation.

The final may be twofold - or Turkey will complete the transaction paying $ 2,5 billion for the C-400 system, or withdraw from the agreement, but lose a large prepayment.

If the supplies of 5 F-35 fighter planes are really frozen, and the US Congress really threatens to do this, Ankara has a chance to lose almost $ 1 billion, which it invested in the development of the F-35 program.

"Comparatively little is said about this, but I would certainly add some strokes to the history of the delivery by the United States of the 5 F-35 fighters of Turkey," Deputy Director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Konstantin Makienko told Gazeta.ru.

According to the expert, the F-35 aircraft has very complicated software. The keys to it are in the hands of the United States. And, apparently, in full, the Americans will not even give information about him to the allies.

That is, in the opinion of a specialist, at any given moment of time, simply by turning the key, the combat capabilities of the F-35 aircraft can be substantially understated. And from the formidable weapons of the XXI century the machine can easily be turned into an airplane with more than modest tactical and technical characteristics.

In addition, the military equipment supplied by the MTC to the US allies and friends has a lot of restrictions in terms of combat use.

For example, the Jordanian F-16 will not be able to shoot down a similar F-16 Israeli Air Force in the event of a hypothetical armed conflict. The case will include a lot of blockages that make the use of weapons impossible.

And the S-400 SAM system "Triumph", supplied to the Turkish side, lacks this shortcoming. It can with equal success work on all types of aerodynamic and many ballistic purposes, both on that and on the other side. And in Ankara, they know this very well.

"The history of deliveries of S-400 SAM systems to Turkey can be considered finalized only when payment for armaments is made, Turkish calculations will be trained in Russia, carry out initial combat firing, and the purchased equipment will be deployed in Turkey in places of permanent deployment" , - ex-Deputy Chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff Lieutenant-General Valery Zaparenko reminded Gazeta.ru.

According to the latest data, Russia will give Turkey the first regiment of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems Triumph in October of the year 2019.

Mikhail Khodarenok
BBC

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