Turkey transports S-400 air defense system for Black Sea tests
ANKARA, Turkey - The Turkish military shipped its first batch of Russian-made S-400s to the Black Sea port of Sinop, where the country plans to test the capabilities of a Turkish military’s long-range air defense system, Oct. 5-6, source told Defense News approved.
The S-400 is being tested on the Sinop test field, and the city's civil aviation authorities have banned all flights between Sinop and Unyem east of the test field at an altitude of less than 25,000 feet.
Officials reported that the S-400 will be fired eastward during the tests.
The batteries were transported to Sinop in military trucks with eight-wheel drive. Military officials said a batch of 10 UK-made Banshee target drones had also been shipped to Sinop for testing.
Turkey first tested the S-400 air defense system on American-made F-16 fighter planes in November. The first batch of the system was delivered to Ankara in July 2019. Turkey and Russia are currently negotiating to buy a second batch based on a co-production or a standard purchase with technology transfer.
Turkey agreed to acquire S-400 worth $ 2.5 billion in late 2017. She said she would activate the system in April 2020.
Under pressure from its NATO allies, particularly the United States, Turkey silently postponed the activation process, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since purchasing the S-400, Washington has suspended Turkey's partnership under the American-led multinational Joint Strike Fighter program that will build the F-35 fighter jet. The US also threatened to sanction Turkey if it activated the air defense system.
"When to activate ... such a critical air defense system ... it is a matter that must not be disclosed to the public," said Ismail Demir, Turkey's chief defense procurement officer. "How much of the system has been activated? Such questions do not match." with the geostrategic considerations of a country. "
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