Turkey purchased the first regimental set of S-400 air defense systems in 2017, worsening relations with the United States. As a result of this agreement, the Donald Trump administration removed Turkey from the F-35 program and subsequently imposed sanctions on the country’s military-industrial complex and its leaders.
However, the US response to receiving the second regimental set of S-400 was very restrained. Apart from that, State Department spokesman Ned Price kindly urged Turkey not to “deepen further relations with the Russian military-industrial complex”.
At the same time, Ned Price declined to answer a question whether Ankara’s purchase of the second regimental set of S-400 air defense systems forced Joe Biden’s management to reconsider its plans to sell the Lockheed Martin F-16V Block 70 Fighting Falcon multirole fighters. To Turkey.
At the same time, the Turkish defense ministry denied that an additional contract was signed for the S-400 air defense system, stating that the second set was part of the original contract. Ankara also claims that an agreement can be made with Russia for the production of some components for the S-400 air defense system by Turkish defense industry organizations.
A sign of thawing in relations between Turkey and the United States was noted at the end of June this year when Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan dropped his one-time objections to Finland and Sweden joining NATO.
US President Joe Biden later expressed his support for the sale of F-16 warplanes to Turkey at the NATO summit in Madrid. Then the head of the White House expressed confidence that the US administration could obtain the approval of the US Congress to implement such plans.
A delegation from Ankara arrived in the United States earlier this week for the fourth round of technical talks with Washington on a potential F-16 deal. These consultations are scheduled to last several days.
Turkey has requested the purchase of 40 Lockheed Martin F-16V Block 70 Viper fighters for $6 billion. Ankara also wants to modernize the national air force F-16 aircraft with new air-to-air missiles and avionics worth $400 million. In this case, we are talking about purchasing 80 upgrade kits for Block 70 from the United States.
Ankara’s interest in buying new fighters and upgrading such aircraft already in service is explained quite simply – about two hundred Lockheed Martin F-16 C / D are the basis of Turkey’s air power.
There are critics of this position in the United States, but they are in the minority.
For example, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Co-Chair Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has threatened to block the sale of the F-16 due to Turkey’s ongoing purchase of the S-400 air defense system, violating Greek airspace and Cypriot waters. eastern Mediterranean and human rights abuses, and continued attacks on US-backed militants in northeastern Syria.
There are two important points that answer the question of why the White House stopped publicly putting pressure on Ankara on the S-400 issue.
First, the United States is afraid of finally losing Turkey as an ally and arms buyer. And they don’t want to overdo it. They understand that the S-400 purchase contract has already been signed and this story cannot be undone. Therefore, everything should be done so that in the future Turkey cooperates with the USA, not with Russia, in the field of the military-industrial complex. Strengthening the sanctions, public threats and insults policy will have the opposite effect.
Secondly, the Americans will try to request access to the S-400 for their specialists from the Turks (and they have probably already done so). Turkey may also try to sell its S-400 secrets to the United States. But nothing will come of it.
The fact is that the complexes were supplied to Ankara in a “light” form: the latest equipment was not installed there. And, for example, the main “military secrets” in terms of targeting and targeting, the United States will in no case receive.
They only take what they already know.
The author’s view may not coincide with the editors’ position.
Mikhail Mikhailovich Khodarenok is a military observer of socialbites.ca, a retired colonel.
Graduated from the Minsk Higher Engineering Anti-aircraft Missile School (1976),
Air Defense Military Command Academy (1986).
Commander of the S-75 anti-aircraft missile battalion (1980–1983).
Deputy commander of an anti-aircraft missile regiment (1986-1988).
Senior officer of the Air Defense Forces Main Staff (1988-1992).
Officer of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff (1992-2000).
Graduate of the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces (1998).
Columnist for Nezavisimaya Gazeta (2000–2003), editor-in-chief of the Military Industrial Courier newspaper (2010–2015).