Turkish military plans to form regimental command for S-400 systems

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 04.01.2018 21:26
Updated 04.01.2018 21:31

Turkish Armed Forces are looking to form a new regimental command consisting of two battalions and four units to accommodate the S-400 anti-aircraft missile defense system, media reports have claimed.

Each defense system will include missile launch pads, long-range radars and command-control vehicles. All the instruments comprising the defense system will be deployed over wheeled vehicles so they can easily be transferred to different regions in case of a crisis.

Last week Ankara officially signed the $2.5-billion agreement with Russia to purchase S-400 missile defense systems. The deal would make Turkey the first NATO member to own the system.

Turkey's Undersecretariat for the Defense Ministry said the systems will be able to function without any connection to external power and will be managed by Turkish personnel, rather than Russian advisers.

Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said yesterday that the Russian advisors would only provide technical know-how and training. Additionally, an indigenous identification friend-or-foe system will be integrated into the system.

Turkey will buy two S-400 surface-to-air missile batteries from Russia, with the first delivery planned for the first quarter of 2020, according to the agreement.

Ankara decided to buy the missile system last September to address its growing defense needs. However, Turkey faced criticism from NATO allies who claimed that the country was moving away from the military alliance.

In response to the criticism, Turkey stressed that the decision to procure the defense system from Russia was not politically motivated but should be considered an effort to meet the defense needs of the country.

Officials from Ankara have said that Turkey first attempted to purchase a defense system from NATO member states, but never had its demands addressed.

Despite criticisms, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg ended speculations on Sept. 19, 2017, when he said member states had the sovereign right to make decisions regarding their military purchases.

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