T-Loramids Long-Range Air-and Missile-Defence System
Turkey on April 2017 signed a contract with Russia to acquire the S-400 anti-missile shield after protracted efforts to purchase an air defence missile system from NATO ally US was unsuccessful. US officials argued the Russian missile defence would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose its fifth generation, the state-of-art F-35 jet to possible Russian subterfuge. Turkey says the S-400 would not be integrated into the NATO systems and has no chance to pose any threat to the alliance or its armaments.
Turkey started to receive the second batch of S-400s, a Russian missile defence system, the Turkish Defence Ministry said 27 August 2019. "The second batch of S-400 missile defence system equipment of has arrived at Murted Air Base near Ankara," the ministry said. “The delivery process will continue around one month,” the ministry said. First components of Russian-made S-400 missile system arrived in Ankara, Turkish officials said 11 July 2019. Turkey's NTV broadcaster reported that the S-400 might not be ready for use until the autumn.
The deal is worth some $2.5 billion (€2.2 billion). The purchase sparked a row within NATO, with the US threatening sanctions against Turkey for buying the Russian-made military technology. Specifically, the Pentagon fears that Russia will be able to spy on the US-made F-35, the latest generation fighter jet, once S-400 becomes part of Turkey's defense network. Earlier this year, the US suspended deliveries related to the F-35 and gave Turkey a deadline until the end of July to cancel the S-400 deal. If Ankara did not comply, Turkish pilots training to fly F-35 in the US would be expelled from the country.
Turkey's Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli confirmed 27 December 2017 that the deal to install Russian long-range anti-aircraft missile had been finalised. Russia will sell Turkey four batteries of S-400 surface-to-air missiles for $2.5 billion under a deal that is almost complete, Sergei Chemezov, head of Russian state conglomerate Rostec, told the Kommersant daily.
National Defense Minister of Turkey Nurettin Canikli confirmed the statement and added that the S-400 deal had been concluded. During a press conference in Tunisia Canikli was asked about Sergey Chemezov's remarks. "That is correct. Two systems, four batteries in total. The deal is completely done," Canikli said. He said what was at stake during the negotiations was whether to take out a loan or finance the deal themselves. "But the idea of paying a portion of the total amount by getting a loan prevailed in the end. Otherwise, it was already a done deal," he added.
The S-400 is Russia's most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system with a capacity of carrying three types of missiles that can destroy 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.
The deal has caused concern in the West because Turkey is a member of NATO but the Russian missile system cannot be integrated into NATO's military architecture. Chemezov said that Turkey was the first NATO member state to acquire the advanced S-400 missile system.
The Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation said in a statement 12 September 2017 that Russia and Turkey had reached an agreement on Russian S-400 missile systems deliveries to Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 13 September 2017 that Turkey's deal with Russia on the supplies of S-400 missile systems "made the United States furious.... "Did we need to wait for you [the US]? We take and will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure our national security. We are the hosts in our own house," the Turkish leader emphasized. He added that after the US and Israel had refused to supply combat drones to Turkey, Ankara developed and began to produce them itself, causing the two states' concern.
US Democratic Party Senator Ben Cardin, the member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent a letter to the US administration on 15 September 2017, in which he noted that Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems requires an automatic imposition of sanctions against Ankara. In August 2017, Washington imposed sanctions against Russia, targeting defense and economic sectors and restricting dealings with Russian companies. The law imposes sanctions "on any person that conducts a significant transaction with the Russian Federation’s defense or intelligence sectors," Cardin wrote in the letter.
In March 2017, Russian Presidential Aide for Military-Technical Cooperation Vladimir Kozhin said that Russia did not see Ankara's potential NATO membership as an obstacle for delivering the S-400 systems to Turkey. Some other NATO members might have a differing view. If NATO was unready for Turkey to acquire a Chinese air and missile defense system, the prospects of a Russian system in Turkey must seem even less appealing. This deal may become part of the larger re-appraisal of Turkey's relationship with Europe. Erdogan's imposition of a dictatorship has ended prospects for Turkey's membership in the EU for many, many years to come. Turkey may find Russia to be annoying from time to time, but Moscow clearly does not pose the threat that it did during the Cold War. THAAD has become a lever for China to pry South Korea away from America, and the S-400 may prove a lever to pry Turkey loose from Europe.
Negotiations on possible deliveries of the Russian air defense system to Turkey have been conducted by both parties since 2016. In March 2017, Sergei Chemezov, Chief Executive Officer of Russia's state military equipment manufacturer Rostec, said that Turkey was ready to buy S-400 missile systems from Russia with a loan granted by Moscow. The S-400 Triumph is Russia's next-generation mobile surface-to-air missile system carrying three different types of missiles capable of destroying aerial targets at a short-to-extremely-long range. It integrates a multifunctional radar, autonomous detection and targeting systems, anti-aircraft missile systems, launchers, and a command and control center.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said 28 April 2017 that Russia and Turkey had reached an agreement on purchases of the S-400 air defense systems, the negotiations on the price were underway. "We agreed in principle with Russia on S-400 purchases. The negotiations on the joint production and prices are underway," Cavusoglu told the Haberturk newspaper. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan may discuss the deliveries of S-400 systems to Turkey during talks in May 2017. Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin also confirmed that the discussion was on the agenda of the upcoming talks between the Russian and Turkish leaders.
Defense analyst Maxim Shepovalenko, the deputy director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, told Vzglyad that Ankara's negotiations with Russia underscore President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's foreign policy style. "An air defense system is not a tank or a steamship. This is one of the highest precision weapons systems. Not many countries are capable of producing such armaments," he said, naming the US, Europe and Israel as other manufacturers. "All the rest are cloning [these systems]. This is classic Erdogan – balancing between two sides."
The US offered to provide Turkey with a powerful air defence which would meet 'all of Turkey's requirements if it were to stop its purchase of the S-400,' Anadolu Agency reported 29 November 2018, summarizing a Pentagon report to Congress. Highlighting Turkey's "unique geostrategic position" between Europe, Russia and the Middle East, as well as its powerful military, which can be used in NATO operations abroad, the Pentagon nevertheless warned that it would "reassess Turkey's continued participation as one of eight partner nations" in the F-35 stealth fighter program "should they continue with their purchase of the S-400."
"The US Government has made clear to the Turkish Government that purchasing the S-400 would have unavoidable negative consequences for US-Turkey bilateral relations, as well as Turkey's role in NATO," the report added, according to Anadolu.
A report that Turkey might pass Russian modern S-400 antiaircraft systems to the US was met with a high degree of scepticism in Moscow. On 19 December 2018, Bloomberg news agency reported that Ankara has allegedly been considering an option to grant American defense companies access to the Russian know-how upon receiving the S-400 due in October 2019.
Meanwhile, Russian officials and experts question if the sensational news could be fake or even a deliberate provocation intended to undermine the $2.5-billion contract the Russian military hardware exporting company Rosoboronexport and Ankara inked last December.
The report by Bloomberg is “a provocation” aimed at disruption of the Russia-Turkey military-technical cooperation, the Rosoboronexport’s spokesman Vyacheslav Davidenko tells TRT World. “We’ve got used to that sort of provocation long ago and pay scant attention to that. The contract over the S-400 delivery to Turkey has been implemented as intended and its cancellation has been out of the question,” he said.
T-LORAMIDS - The China Syndrome
On 15 November 2015 Turkey rescinded a contract with a state-owned Chinese manufacturer that would have seen the company build Ankara its first long-range missile defense system. "The deal was cancelled," an official from Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's office told AFP. The USD-3.4-billion (EUR-3-billion) contract was clinched with China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CPMIEC) following talks with the firm in 2013. The deal originally raised eyebrows among other NATO members, which complained that the defense apparatus would lack the qualities enabling it to work in tandem with other such systems in the Western military alliance.
The Defense Ministry said in a statement on 17 Novembe 2015 that 'After detailed discussions, on November 13 Turkey decided to abandon the current project and develop its own national missile defense system with the use of its domestic resources'. Earlier, Turkish media reported that Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had already signed a decree on the development of Turkish long-range missile systems.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an interview aired on private ATV and A Haber channels late on 18 November 2015, recalled that Turkey canceled the existing missile project so the country could focus on development of long-range missile defense system developed by indigenous means. The Undersecretariat of the Defense Industry (SSM) will work on this project and the project could be carried out either by opening a tender, which could involve China and or France, or by an intergovernmental agreement, Erdogan said.
NATO member Turkey chose a Chinese defense firm that had been sanctioned by the United States to co-produce the T-Loramids Long-Range Air-and Missile-Defence System, rejecting rival proposals from Russian, United States, French and Italian firms. With the decision, announced 26 September 2013, Ankara approved the lowest offer despite worries about the Chinese system’s ultimate compatibility with NATO-owned early warning assets. CPMIEC (China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp.) submitted an offer for its HQ-9 [exported as FD-2000] that included co-production solutions – which was requested by Turkish authorities. The contract was initially expected to be worth $4 billion, but a procurement official said CPMIEC, the Chinese manufacturer, reduced its proposal to around $3 billion. Turkey had long purchased its military hardware and gear from the US, Germany and its other Western allies as part of a policy of integrating its weapons systems with NATO military equipment.
T-LORAMIDS - Background
The Turkish Air Force Long-Range Air-and Missile-Defence System (T-LORAMIDS) competition attracted bids from a US partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, offering the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 and Gem.T missiles; Russia’s Rosoboronexport, marketing the S-300; China’s CPMIEC (China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp.), offering its HQ-9; and the Italian-French consortium Eurosam, maker of the SAMP/T Aster 30. The Turkish military put the price of the acquisition of T-LORAMIDS at $1 billion, covering the purchase of four batteries. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin put the cost of providing 12 fire units at $4.5 billion.
In April 2007 the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries [SSM] issued a request for information to evaluate the price and availability of the systems. After the launch of the project, Russia sought exclusive state-to-state negotiations with Turkey instead of bidding in a tender. By late 2009, China and Russia both declined to bid for Turkey’s long-range air and missile defense systems (T-LORAMIDS) project, seeking state-to-state negotiations.
NATO officials warned Turkey that if it bought Chinese or Russian air and missile defense systems, Ankara would operate them without the Western alliance’s intelligence on incoming ballistic missiles.
On September 9, 2009 the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified the US Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Turkey of 13 PATRIOT Fire Units, 72 PATRIOT Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles, four PAC-3 Lot Validation Missiles, 197 MIM-104E PATRIOT Guidance Enhanced Missiles-T (GEM-T), four MIM-104E GEM-T Lot Validation Missiles, five PATRIOT Digital Missiles, five Anti-Tactical Missiles and other related support and equipment. The estimated cost was $7.8 billion.
In addition, the potential sale included eight AN/USQ-140(V)(2)(c) (RT-1785) or AN/USQ-140(V)(11)(c) Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems/Low Volume Terminals (MIDS/LVT-2), 13 AN/MPQ-65 Radar Sets, four Tactical Command Systems, 13 Battery Command Posts, six Communication Relay Groups, 13 Engagement Control Stations, 48 M902 Launching Stations, 52 Antenna Mast Groups, 13 Electronic Power Plant III (EPP), 100 THALES 9310C Very High Frequency (VHF) Voice Radios, 150 THALES 9310C VHF Data Radios, containers, battery and battalion maintenance equipment, prime movers, generators, electrical power units, personnel training and training equipment, trailers, communication equipment, tool and test sets, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, U.S. Government and contractor technical, engineering, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support.
European missile maker MBDA was hopeful to win a multibillion-dollar Turkish tender which would enable it to build Turkey's long-range air and missile defense system, known as T-Loramids. MBDA -- a missile developer and manufacturer with operations in France, Britain, Germany, and Italy -- offerred Turkey a complete freedom of technology transfer in case of a cooperation.
MBDA and French company Thales are partners in Eurosam. Eurosam is the industrial prime contractor and system design authority for the development, production, marketing and sales of a range of medium-range naval and ground-launched air-defence missiles, systems that were developed under contract from the French and Italian governments.
In a December 2010 press tour at MBDA facilities in Italy, company executives gave information about company profile and its operations, as well as their possible bid for T-Loramids project. MBDA officials guaranteed a joint understanding in developing Turkey's air and missile defense system, saying that MBDA products were the latest generation in NATO's joint defense systems.
MBDA executives said their products offered a great number of advantages against their U.S., Russian and Chinese rivals in T-Loramids tender, which they said were a full and unconditional technology transfer, NATO-compatibility, and joint production of T-Loramids missile systems, including a national software and industrial partnership and cooperation with Turkish defense industry firms. MBDA signed a framework agreement with Turkish defense industry companies Aselsan, Roketsan and Ayesas to develop an air defense system. The agreement prescribes a certain road map for cooperation.
Russian and Chinese systems do not offer NATO-compatible missiles, MBDA executives said, adding that producer of U.S. Patriot missiles does not allow freedom of technology transfer. Company's experts said MBDA would work together with Turkey also to develop a new generation missile launcher, if they won the T-Loramids tender for which U.S. Patriot, Russian S-400 and Chinese FD-2000 systems were expected to compete with Eurosam's Samp-T. MBDA produces around 3,000 missiles annually, and has a turnover of more than 3 billion euro. It was also interested in a project to build NATO's planned missile shield.
On 12 December 2019 the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the “Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act,” which includes provisions sanctioning Turkey for buying the S-400 system from Russia. “Turkey’s actions over the past year are truly beyond the pale,” Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said in a Wednesday tweet. “This bill makes clear to Turkey that its behavior with respect to Syria is unacceptable, and its purchase of the S-400 system is untenable.”
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