S-400 Training for Turkish Air Force Underway

Operational training for Turkish Air Force personnel on the S-400 missile defense system has begun in Gatchina, Russia, per a tweet by Turkey’s Defense Ministry on September 4.

The training follows delivery of the first Russian-sourced S-400 battery to Turkey on July 25. That was followed by delivery of a second batch of S-400 equipment to Turkey on August 27, with ancillary elements continuing to arrive through this month.

Turkey plans to complete the setup for the first of the two S-400 batteries by the end of the year, with deliveries of the remaining elements ordered to all four batteries to be completed by year-end 2020.

Despite entreaties by Washington, coupled with the threat of financial sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) and the removal of Turkey from the F-35 program by the U.S., Turkey continues to implement its S-400 acquisition program contracted for in 2017 at an estimated cost of $2.5 billion.

The Turkish government has used the issue of the S-400 procurement both as a key military capability enabler and a symbolic gesture of national sovereignty. It shows zero sign of walking away from its deal with Russia and instead is moving forward with implementation of the new long-range air defense system. This means Turkey and the U.S. are at a crossroads in their relationship – and Russia has a chance to deepen both defense cooperation with Ankara and the fissure between the Turkey and NATO.

 

About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is Forecast International’s director of military and defense markets. In this role, Dan oversees a team of analysts tasked with covering everything from budgeting to weapons systems to defense electronics and military aerospace. Additionally, for over 17 years Dan has, at various times, authored the International Military Markets reports for Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. Dan's work has been cited in Defense News, Real Clear Defense, Asian Military Review, Al Jazeera, and Financial Express, among others, and he has also contributed commentary to The Diplomat, The National Interest and World Politics Review. He has been quoted in Arabian Business, the Financial Times, Flight International, The New York Times, Bloomberg and National Defense Magazine. In addition, Dan has made guest appearances on the online radio show Midrats and on The Media Line, as well as The Red Line Podcast, plus media appearances on France 24 and World Is One News (WION).

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