Turkey has been under a lot of pressure recently to reconsider its decision to purchase Russia’s state-of-the-art S-400 Triumf air-defense systems rather than the weapons offered by NATO allies, notably the US Patriot PAC-3.
American officials are threatening Turkey with sanctions. The S-400 deal with Russia has been finalized, and Ankara shows no sign that it’s having second thoughts. Anyway, a potential purchase of the US system would not preclude the deal with Russia, for the simple reason that the PAC-3 is not an alternative to the Triumf. Some countries, like Poland, buy it for political reasons, but that system is no match for the S-400 from the standpoint of its operational capabilities. According to the Quartz news website, “the US and its allies the world over are paying billions for medium-range missile interception systems without a track record of success.”
The S-400 has optional acquisition radars, which operate in multiple frequency bands. They can see US stealth aircraft, such as the F-22 and the F-35. The system is capable of targeting up to 36 airplanes at a range of 150 kilometers. Unlike the Patriot, the S-400 does not need to track its target, thanks to its fire-and-forget capability. The interceptors are equipped with homing devices to lock on a target and kill it.
Everyone wants the best. Russia abides by the principles of fair trade that the US demands from others while refusing to honor itself. Washington does not shy away from pressure and arm-twisting to force other customers buy a commodity that is obviously inferior in quality. The S-400 is certainly not the only example of US duplicity. This American policy is facing broad resistance. The US could have offered a better defense system but it failed to develop and produce one. This “do as I tell you or else” policy is the only option left for those who don’t know how to lose gracefully.