Turkey tests S-400 air defence systems

Turkey tests S-400 air defence systems

Turkey has carried out the first field tests of the S-400 air defence systems’ radar, Turkish media reported.

Turkey procured the system from Russia with its F-16 and F-4 fighters on 25-26 November.

According to a statement from the Ankara governor’s office on 24 November the Turkish Air Force (TuAF) fighters are expected to conduct low- and high-altitude flights over the city to test the SU-400 air defence system.

TuAF carried out the tests with the new air dfence system around the Mürted Air Base where two batteries with eight S-400 launchers each arrived between July and September.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on 26 November, “We have no commitment to anyone that we will not install or use the S-400s. We bought the S-400s because we needed them. Will an air defence system be bought to keep it in a box?”

S-400 at a glance

The S-400  (Russian: C-400 Триумф; NATO: SA-21 Growler), previously known as the S-300PMU-3, is an anti-aircraft battery developed in the 1990s by Russia’s Almaz Central Design Bureau as an upgrade of the S-300 family. 

The system integrates a multifunction radar, autonomous detection and targeting systems, anti-aircraft missile systems, launchers, and command and control (C2) centre.

The S-400   can engage all types of aerial targets including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and ballistic and cruise missiles within a range of 400km, at an altitude of up to 30km.

It is capable of firing three types of missiles to create a layered defence. The battery can simultaneously engage 36 targets.

The air defence missile system uses four new missile types in addition to the missiles of the S-300PMU system: 48N6DM (range of 250km); 40N6 (range of 400km); 9M96E and 9M96E2.

The 55K6E C2 system of the S-400 is based on the Ural-532301 mobile command post vehicle. It controls and monitors long-range tracks airborne threats, surveillance radar, prioritises the threats, and coordinates batteries. The radar is based on the MZKT-7930 8×8 vehicle.

Defence Insight Analysis

The testing of the S-400 comes on the eve of a NATO summit planned for next week in London.

A US sanctions Act designed to deter any significant transactions with Russia was passed in 2017 with an overwhelming bipartisan majority.

With Turkey testing the system, the US president could opt for lighter sanctions available through the Act, and Congress could move on other bills to punish government in Ankara.


Matteo Natalucci

Matteo Natalucci is a geopolitics expert working as an Editor in London covering all aspects of international affairs and technology. Matteo previously worked for the United Nations, the European Commission, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg, IHS Markit, and Global Data. Get in touch with the author: matteo.natalucci@internationalinsider.org
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