Russia eyes further military cooperation with Turkey

Russia and Turkey have “big plans” on military cooperation, Alexander Mikheev, head of the Rosoboronexport, the only authorized exporter of Russian arms, said on Tuesday.

As the delivery of the first S-400 air defense system is completed, Russia and Turkey discussed the supply of the second set with partial production localization in Turkey, but the military cooperation between the two countries is not limited to the S-400s, Mikheev said in an interview with the Russian state-run RIA news agency.

According to Mikheev, Turkey paid in full for the S-400 system, and Russia delivered all components of the system.

Turkish staff is currently under training in Russia, which they expect to complete by the end of the year.

He also said all financial questions are settled, money is received in full, acts of acceptance and delivery are signed, and all equipment is ready to install.

“Until the end of 2019, we will complete the training of combat crews in Gatchina [military base near Saint Petersburg], and we will train guarantee officers,” Mikheev said.

The second S-400 system, suggesting partial localization of its production, can be delivered in 2020, Mikheev said.

“It should be noted that currently technical issues with the Turkish side have been resolved, and negotiations on the financial issue are underway. We hope that in the first half of 2020 we will sign the contracts,” he said.

Sensing that its protracted efforts to purchase an air defense missile system from the ally U.S. was not heading toward success, Turkey in April 2017, signed a contract with Russia to acquire the S-400 anti-missile shield.

Opposing deployment of the Russian system, U.S. officials argued that the S-400s would be incompatible with the NATO systems and expose its fifth generation, the state-of-art, F-35 jet, to possible Russian subterfuge.

Turkey, however, emphasized that the S-400 would not be integrated into the NATO systems, thus had no chance to pose any threat to the alliance or its armaments.

Turkey even asked for setting up of a commission to clarify any technical issues. But the U.S. has, so far, not responded to this proposal.

The S-400 system is seen as one of the most advanced missile systems in the world, capable of tracking several targets simultaneously.

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