US warns Turkey not to buy Russian S-400 missile system

Moving forward with the deal will jeopardise the F-35 fighter jet purchase and other future arms transfers, US says.

    People walk past a S-400 missile air defence system before a military parade in Volgograd, Russia [Tatyana Maleyeva/Reuters]
    People walk past a S-400 missile air defence system before a military parade in Volgograd, Russia [Tatyana Maleyeva/Reuters]

    The United States warned Turkey against moving ahead with plans to buy a sophisticated Russian missile defence system that the Pentagon believes would threaten its advanced F-35 fighter aircraft.

    The State Department made the remarks on a day when the head of US European Command spoke to politicians on Capitol Hill and said Turkey should reconsider its plan to buy the S-400 from Russia this year.

    "We've clearly warned Turkey that its potential acquisition of the S-400 will result in a reassessment of Turkey's participation in the F-35 programme, and risk other potential future arms transfers to Turkey," said deputy spokesman Robert Palladino on Tuesday.

    The US agreed to sell 100 of its latest fifth-generation F-35 fighters to Turkey and has so far delivered two of the aircraft. But Congress last year ordered a delay in future deliveries.

    NATO nations - particularly the US - view Turkey's purchase of the Russian-made equipment with suspicion. Ankara says it needs alternative missile defences to counter regional threats.

    Russia's S-400 is a massive upgrade to the S-300 missile defence system, its predecessor. Because of its capabilities, countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, India and Qatar have said they want to buy the S-400.

    181007205808578

    Those stating such intentions, however, have been threatened with some kind of diplomatic retaliation from the US or other NATO nations.

    The S-400 can track a large number of potential targets, including stealth targets such as the US F-35 fighter jet.

    Other advantages included its high mobility, meaning it can be set up, fired and moved within minutes.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies