Russia Starts Supplying 2nd Regiment Of S-400 Systems To Turkey; Ankara Wants ‘No Delay’ In F-16s – Reports

Russia has started the supplies of the second regiment of its S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems to Turkey after the signing of a relevant contract, Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) Director Dmitry Shugaev told Sputnik on Thursday.

“The relevant contract document [on the supply of the second S-400 regiment to Turkey] has already been signed, which, among other things, provides for the localization of the production of the system’s individual components,” Shugaev said, adding that the implementation of the contract has already begun.

Turkey remains Russia’s important partner, and the two countries have close trade and economic relations with bilateral collaboration actively developing in many areas, including military-technical cooperation, he said.

Shugaev noted that despite the current geopolitical difficulties, the military-technical cooperation with Turkey is developing under the agreements reached earlier between the presidents of the two countries.

Russia is looking forward to continuing working with Turkey on a transparent and mutually beneficial basis, Shugaev added.

The S-400 Triumph air defense system is a unique system, and “there is no reason to believe that any state can create in the coming years a system that, in terms of its tactical and technical characteristics, could approach the S-400 Triumf [SA-21 Growler] air defense system,” according to the defense official.

In 2017, Russia and Turkey signed the first contract for the S-400 regimental kit worth $ 2.5 billion, with an opportunity to purchase another regiment later. Deliveries of the first regiment to Turkey took place in summer-autumn of 2019.

Earlier on Tuesday,  the spokesperson for US State Department is not aware of any new developments for Russia to provide Turkey with additional S-400 air defense systems, but the United States’ position on the arms sale is well known.

“We’re not aware of any new developments on this matter, our position on Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 is well known,” Ned Price said during a press briefing.

Turkey F-16
An F-16 Fighting Falcon of the Turkish Air Force. (Wikimedia Commons)

Meanwhile,  Turkey has opposed the delay in the procurement of F-16 fighter jets from the United States and demanded that the Pentagon submit the issue to the US Congress, Turkish newspaper Sabah reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Ankara is planning to purchase 40 F-16 fighters from the US and modernize 80 more already deployed. US President Joe Biden said earlier that he was hoping to get congressional approval for the delivery of fighters to Turkey.

However, a group of US congressmen opposed the deal. Moreover, Greece is actively obstructing the delivery of fighters, which became one of the reasons for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to refuse to have contact with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and accuse him of violation of reached agreements.

The media cited its sources as saying that Turkey would not like the issue to be subjected to lengthy procedures and delays; therefore, Ankara is negotiating with the Pentagon and demanding that the issue be submitted to the US Congress.

Thus, Turkey is trying to speed up the decision-making on the procurement, as Congress must approve the issue within a certain time.

Negotiations on F-16s’ procurement have been going on for some time, the source said, adding that the issue will be discussed during a possible meeting between Biden and Erdogan in New York on the outskirts of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly due from September 13-27.