Published On: Fri, Dec 29th, 2017

Why is Turkey buying Russian missiles despite integration problem into Nato system?

A credit agreement between Turkey and Russia over the procurement of the S-400 air defense systems is coming into effect. Four batteries of the missiles, for $2.5 million, are expected to be delivered to Turkey by 2020. As a key member of the Western defense alliance NATO, Turkey knows that it will not be possible to integrate the S-400 system into the NATO air defense network, as they are not interoperable.

That means that if there is say a hypothetical attack from a neighboring country, like Syria which uses Russian weapons systems, the identifying-friend-and-foe (IFF) mechanism of the Russian defense missile may not recognize it as an enemy attack because their software rivals are NATO systems.

There is no report on a national software to be installed into the Russian missiles to meet such needs of Turkey, like with the case of the software developed for the Turkish-made F-16s in the early 1990s which recognized NATO member Greek jets as “foe.” There will be no planned technology transfer.

Then why is Turkey buying an expensive air defense system that is not interoperable with NATO and will not serve Turkey’s long-term needs?

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Article by MURAT YETKIN from

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