Turkey raises stakes in S-400 drama with talk of second Russian purchase

Defiant comments from Turkish officials come after US senators write strongly worded op-ed contradicting Turks

By Ragip Soylu in Ankara

Published date: 10 April 2019 14:00 UTC
Last update: 1 day 6 hours ago

Turkey has vowed to maintain close ties with Russia and potentially buy even more S-400 missile defence systems, a day after US senators threatened to slap Ankara with sanctions if the country followed through with its purchase from Moscow.

If they don’t sell the Patriots, we could buy a second S-400 system

– Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday said that Turkey “urgently” needs the weapons systems and has yet to receive confirmation from the US about whether it will sell Turkey its rival Patriot system.

“We need S-400s urgently. We don’t pay this amount of money for a cosmetic product. The US doesn’t give us assurances that they [will] sell Patriots to us. I asked [US Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo, his response was ‘no’,” said Cavusoglu in a televised interview.

“If they don’t sell the Patriots, we could buy a second S-400 system or another one from someone else.”

Later in the day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters the Russian defence systems could even be delivered earlier than planned.

Buying time

In September 2017, Turkey decided to buy Russia’s S-400 missile defense system, despite the opposition of its NATO allies – and concerns from US lawmakers that Russia could collect intelligence on American F-35 technology with the systems.

This March, Turkish officials announced that the US had made a second Patriot offer to meet Turkish demands. But a Turkish official, who spoke to Middle East Eye on condition of anonymity, said that the second offer was only made in order to buy a couple of weeks for both sides to figure out a solution.

Analysts believe Washington is unlikely to meet Turkey’s two core demands – foreign credit and technology transfer. Raytheon, the private company that makes the Patriot, isn’t willing to share its know-how and the Trump administration has been reluctant to provide foreign credits or loans to any parties other than close partners like Israel and Egypt.

Cavusoglu, who was in Washington last week, claimed that he had been able to convince some senators to support Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 after telling them that Ankara was buying the systems after the US refused to provide a similar deal. “They didn’t know,” he said on TV.

However, after his departure from Washington, the chairmen and ranking members of the US Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees wrote an op-ed in the New York Times contradicting Cavusoglu’s version of events.

Senators said the US has been offering to sell Patriots to Turkey since at least 2012 and are now asking Turkey to choose between F-35s and S-400s.

“By the end of the year, Turkey will have either F-35 advanced fighter aircraft on its soil or a Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defence system. It will not have both,” they wrote.

“Purchasing the S-400 would create an unacceptable risk because its radar system could enable the Russian military to figure out how the F-35 operates.”

Senators said abandoning the F-35 programme would result in the loss of $1.25bn which Turkey had already invested and that Turkish companies which produce parts for the programme will also lose business.

If Turkey accepts the delivery of the S-400, the US will impose sanctions which “will hit Turkey’s economy hard — rattling international markets, scaring away foreign direct investment and crippling Turkey’s aerospace and defense industry,” they wrote.

Cavusoglu said Turkey will seek F-35 alternatives, one of which could be the Russian-made Sukhoi Su-57.

Russia, which signed a $2.5bn deal with Turkey in 2017 for a S-400 package, welcomed Cavusoglu’s statements suggesting further sales with a presidential spokesman reportedly saying Russia was open to a deal.

“Russia is looking for opportunities to increase military-technical cooperation with Turkey. This is totally normal,” Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman, was quoted as saying in Turkish media reports.

Source: Middle East Eye “Turkey raises stakes in S-400 drama with talk of second Russian purchase”

Note: This is Middle East Eye’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

Russia Delivers a Regiment of Cutting-edge S-400 Air Defense

A S-400 missile defense system of the Russian military (file photo)

According to Press TV’s report “Russia delivers first S-400 regiment to China” on April 3. China entered into a contract with Russia in 2014 for the purchase of six regiments of S-400 at US$3 billion. Now China has received one regiment including a command post, radar stations, launching stations, energy equipment and other property.

S-400 is a cutting-edge air defense system capable of engaging targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km. It can destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles. It can also be used against land-based targets.

Source: Press TV “Russia delivers first S-400 regiment to China” (summary by Chan Kai Yee, full text can be viewed at http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/04/04/557419/Russia-S400-missile-contract-China)

First Batch of Russia’s S-400 Air Defense Missiles Delivered to China

Russia’s world most advanced S-400 air defense system that is able to kill F-35 within 150 km.

According to a vice chairman of Russia’s State Duma, Russia has already delivered to China first batch of S-400 air defense missile systems.

S-400 is Russia’s best air defense system, which due to confidentiality is allowed to be sold only to countries very close to Russia. India and Turkey are queuing for purchase of the system.

This blogger’s comment: Russia has contract obligation to begin delivery of S-400 by 2018. The earlier delivery perhaps aims at helping China deal with US F-35s that are being deployed in East Asia. S-400 has a range of 150 km to hit stealth aircraft.

Source: Interfax “Russia high official: First batch of S400 air defense missile system has been delivered to China” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)

Russian Sales of Expensive Best Weapons to China Mutually Beneficial

Russian test pilot teaches Chinese pilot how to operates Su-35

Russian test pilot teaches Chinese pilot how to operates Su-35. Mil.huanqiu.com photo

China’s official military forum mil.huanqiu.com says in its report yesterday that according to the website of Russian Today Economy News Agency, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia and China has concluded contracts in military technology field worth US$3 billion. I said in my post yesterday that he regarded Sino-Russian military cooperation as the most important of all important issues.

At first, Russian military was unwilling to sell China its most advanced weapons S-400 air defense system and Su-35 fighter jets for fear that China may copy such weapons. Now, it is more than willing to do so.

Russian military expert Vassily Kashin says that it is natural that China will copy Russian weapons to improve its weapon technology. However, the weapons sold to China are very expensive. It enables Russia to recover the development cost and have funds for development of even more advanced weapons to sell China.

As a result, the weapon sales are mutually beneficial. China will obtain advanced weapons cheaper and quicker than it develops on its own while with the profit from such sales, Russia will be able to develop more weapons to sell to China.

As for the US, it is not willing to sell China any advanced weapons. China has to use spies to steal US advanced weapon technology free of charge. Russia understands that China will after all be able to develop advanced weapons similar to those Russia has developed. Why shall Russia not sell China to enable China to save while Russia to make more advanced weapons to keep on the sales and making profits?

For China, since the weapons are available and China has enough funds to purchase, why shall China steal? There has been no news whatever about China stealing Russian weapon technology.

In fact, the US may sell advanced weapons to China at excessively high prices. For example, it can sell its F-22 with the profit of more than US$100 million each.

That is a price China will accept as proved by China’s purchase of 24 Su-35 at the excessive price of US$2 billion. China only wanted 2, but agreed to buy 24 to get the technology through reverse engineering. In fact, Su-35 perhaps includes some technology that China already has or does not need but China has to pay for them.

That is also the case with F-22, China will buy it for defense, its penetrating strike capabilities are useless for China, but China has to pay for them if it buys F-22. It needs only 2 F-22, but has to buy 24 so that the US may earn excessive profits.

The problem is that US government will not be benefited from the sale. Unlike Russian government who owns the weapon producers, US does not own any of the weapon producers. The sale will only enrich those producers, who will not reduce government’s financial burdens in providing it with advanced weapons. As usual, they will be reimbursed by the government all the R&D costs plus an increment of profit. With such a system, US government and people will be increasingly debt ridden in getting advanced weapons from weapons producers.

China on the other hand may develop J-20 stealth fighter jet to deal with F-22 at much lower costs as it needs some of F-22’s expensive capabilities or enable its weapon producers to make windfall profits.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on mil.huanqiu.com’s report “Russia media: Russian weapons indispensable for China: US$3 billion contracts signed in a year”

Game Changer: Combining Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and AEGIS Missile Defense

F-35. Image: Lockheed Martin

F-35. Image: Lockheed Martin

By Dave Majumdar September 13, 2016

The United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps have successfully tested the Lockheed Martin F-35B Joint Strike Fighter with the Naval Integrated Fire Control—Counter Air (NIFC-CA) battle network.

Integrating the stealthy new fighter into the NIFC-CA network will allow the jet to provide over-the-horizon targeting for Aegis cruisers and destroyers to defeat incoming threats. Moreover, the F-35 will be able to provide targeting data to the rest of the fleet from inside a zone defended by advanced Russian or Chinese air defense systems such as the S-400 or HQ-9.

“This test was a great opportunity to assess the Navy’s ability to take unrelated technologies and successfully close the fire control loop as well as merge anti-surface and anti-air weapons into a single kill web that shares common sensors, links and weapons,” said Anant Patel, a Navy program manager for future combat systems in the Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS), in a statement.

During the live-fire test—which took place on Sept. 12 at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico—a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B acted as an off-board sensor to detect an over-the-horizon threat for a shore-based Aegis test-rig called USS Desert Ship (LLS-1). During the test flight, the F-35B operational test aircraft demonstrated that it could relay data via its Multi-Function Advanced Data Link to a ground station linked to Desert Ship. The land-based test facility—which is equipped with the latest Aegis Weapon System Baseline 9.C1 configuration—successfully engaged the target—likely a cruise missile—using a Raytheon SM-6 missile.

While the test demonstrated the F-35’s ability to tie into NIFC-CA in order to relay data to the Aegis system in an anti-air capacity, the battle network is key to the Navy’s strategy to defeating so-called anti-access/area denial threats in the West Pacific, the Baltics or Eastern Mediterranean. Indeed, while originally designed as anti-aircraft and anti-ballistic missile weapon, the SM-6 has formidable long-range anti-ship capabilities at extended ranges. The combination of the F-35, Aegis and NIFC-CA would allow the Navy to target even the most capable enemy surface combatants (which have formidable air defenses) such as the Russian Project 1144 Orlan-class—better known as the Kirov-class—at range.

“NIFC-CA is a game changer for the U.S. Navy that extends the engagement range we can detect, analyze and intercept targets,” said Dale Bennett, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, said in a statement. “The F-35 and Aegis Weapon System demonstration brings us another step closer to realizing the true potential and power of the worldwide network of these complex systems to protect and support warfighters, the home front and U.S. allies.”

Perhaps more significantly, the F-35/NIFC-CA combination would allow the stealthy Joint Strike Fighter to relay targeting data from inside a zone protected by systems such as the S-400 to the rest of the carrier strike group. While the Navy’s carrier-based F-35C won’t be able to carry an enormous payload, its primary role within the strike group will be to provide the critical targeting data needed for the service’s standoff weapons.

Using the F-35’s targeting data, a Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, Aegis cruiser or even a submarine could launch a long-range missile to eliminate the target. But exactly how the Navy will integrate the F-35 into its operations is a work in progress. “It is still yet to be determined as we continue to learn to integrate these capabilities into the air wing,” Rear Adm. (Upper Half) DeWolfe Miller, the service’s director of air warfare told The National Interest earlier. “I’m very confident in the capabilities of the F-35.”

The recent Navy and Marines Corps test is an important first step toward the air wing of the future. “This test represents the start of our exploration into the interoperability of the F-35B with other naval assets,” said Lt. Col. Richard Rusnok, VMX-1 F-35B detachment officer in charge. “We believe the F-35B will drastically increase the situational awareness and lethality of the naval forces with which it will deploy in the very near future.”

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for the National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar.

Source: National Interest “Game Changer: Combining Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and AEGIS Missile Defense”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.

China Will Get Newest S-400 with 380-km range 40N6E Missiles in 2017

Russia's world most advanced S-400 air defense system

Russia’s world most advanced S-400 air defense system

Russian S-400 air defense system supplier reveals to Kanwa Defense Review that it will begin to deliver its newest S-400 systems with 40N6E air defense missiles in 2017 but refuses to reveal the quantity of delivery. According to other sources say Russia sells four battalion of S-400 to China.

However the air defense radar, control and command systems will be delivered a little earlier. The newest 40N6E missiles passed acceptance test in 2015. It has a range of 380 km and can intercept a ballistic missile at the speed of 4,800 meters per second (Mach 14.1) while the S-300PMU2 missiles China has already got from Russia can only intercept a ballistic missile at the speed of 2,800 meters per second (Mach 8.2).

The new radar to be delivered earlier is 91N6E with S waveband and a range of search of 600 km, much longer than that of S-300 China has already got from Russia.

The command and control system is much better with faster data transmission and 100 km longer range of transmission and able to track 300 targets simultaneously.

S-400’s X-waveband 92N6E illumination radar can deal with 10 targets, induce 20 missiles simultaneously and has an illumination range of 390 km.

Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Kanwa: China buys S-400 equipped with 40N6E missiles with a range of 380 km” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)

Much Improvement Needed for China’s Series-produced J-20: Expert

Successful landing of the maiden flight of the first series-produced J-20 stealth fighter jet

Successful landing of the maiden flight of the first series-produced J-20 stealth fighter jet

Successful landing of the maiden flight of the first series-produced J-20 stealth fighter jet

Successful landing of the maiden flight of the first series-produced J-20 stealth fighter jet

Successful landing of the maiden flight of the first series-produced J-20 stealth fighter jet

Successful landing of the maiden flight of the first series-produced J-20 stealth fighter jet

In its report yesterday on the series production of China’s J-20 stealth fighter jet, mil.huanqiu.com says that according to experts, it takes less than five years for China from the maiden flight of the first experimental prototype to series production, the shortest ever in the world. That is indeed impressive, but there have not been enough test flights. They believe there will be more test flights of even the existing prototypes.

This blogger said in his previous posts that China began the series production of J-20 due to its urgent need for air supremacy in case of a military conflict with the US.

This is also proved by its import of Russian S-400 air defense system and Su-35 fighter jets, especially the high price of US$1.5 billion it pays for 24 Su-35s. In fact, its improved version of J-11, the J-11C, comes near to Su-35 in functions. Why is China willing to pay such a high price? Because, it can learn some technology it urgently needs from Su-35 especially its engine.

Global Times quotes an anonymous Chinese military expert as saying that like F-35, there is a large software in J-20 that needs much test; therefore, there must be further improvement during the trial use when the series-produced J-20s have been put into trial service in Chinese air force.

The expert believes that there is still a long way to go for China’s J-20 as the engines it uses cannot meet its designed standards. Only when a J-20 is installed with engines with a thrust-weight ratio of 10 can J-20 be regarded as a perfect fourth-generation fighter jet.

Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Has trial series production of J-20 begun?: Perhaps like F-35, it will be improved while being used” (summary and comments by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)