The delivery of the S-400 missile defense system to Turkey will begin within two months, the head of Russia's state-run defense company Rostec said Friday.
CEO Sergey Chemezov, speaking on the Russian NTV channel amid the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), said the delivery process of the S-400 system is proceeding as planned.
Chemezov said pre-payments have been received from Turkey on schedule and training has been completed.
"We will begin delivery of the S-400s to Turkey within two months," he said.
Turkey decided in 2017 to purchase the S-400 system following protracted efforts to purchase air defense systems from the U.S. with no success.
The S-400 missile defense system is Russia's most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system and can carry three types of missiles capable of destroying targets, including ballistic and cruise missiles.
The system can track and engage up to 300 targets at a time and has an altitude ceiling of 27 kilometers (17 miles).
With the purchase of the S-400s, Ankara aims to build Turkey's first long-range air and anti-missile defense system to guard against threats in the region. Moreover, Turkey seeks to build its own missile defense systems as the deal also involves the transfer of technology and know-how.
The S-400 system, which was introduced in 2007, is the new generation of Russian missile systems, and so far Russia has only sold them to China and India.
U.S. officials have advised Turkey to buy the Patriot missile system rather than the S-400 system from Moscow, arguing it is incompatible with NATO systems. Turkey has responded that it was the U.S.' refusal to sell it Patriots that led it to seek other sellers, adding Russia offered it a better deal, including technology transfers.
The two NATO allies have sparred publicly for months over the S-400s, which Washington says pose a threat to the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 stealthy fighters, which Turkey also plans to buy.
The United States says Turkey cannot have both, but had avoided taking steps to curtail or halt planned training of Turkish pilots in the program.
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