Russia Hails Turkey's Push for S-500s Amid Ankara's Adherence to S-400 Deal
17:05 03.05.2019(updated 22:06 03.05.2019)
In March, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated Ankara's commitment to its deal with Russia on the purchase of S-400 missile systems, adding that Turkey may subsequently look into buying S-500 systems.
Sergey Chemezov, head of the Russian state-owned corporation Rostec, has told the Anadolu news agency that Moscow would welcome Turkey's desire to join the project on developing the sophisticated Russian S-500 missile systems.
"The S-500s are currently under development and will be a Russian state-of-the-art air defence system without equal throughout the world", Chemezov said, adding that Turkey has the necessary technological capacity to contribute to such a project.
Separately, he touched upon the S-400 deal between Russia and Turkey, saying that "we signed the contract for the S-400s in 2017, and before the end of this year, we plan to conclude all deliveries".
The statement comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed Ankara's readiness to look into buying the S-500 systems in the future during his interview with Kanal 24 in March.
This followed Erdogan telling the Turkish broadcaster in June 2018 that Ankara is looking forward to the joint production of the S-500s; he said that he had "contacted Russian President Vladimir Putin with a proposal" on the matter.
The development comes against the background of tensions between Ankara and Washington over Turkey's push to purchase the S-400 systems.
Turkish officials have repeatedly indicated that Ankara has no plans to abandon the S-400 deal, with deliveries due to start in July, despite heavy pressure to do so from Washington.
The US alleges that the S-400 systems are incompatible with NATO air defence standards, and pose a possible danger to the F-35's stealth technology. Washington has threatened to withhold the sale of the fighters to Turkey, or to slap Ankara with anti-Russian arms sanctions if it goes through with the S-400 deal.
Meanwhile, Russian Aerospace Forces Deputy Commander Lieutenant General Yuri Grekhov disclosed last month that the development of the S-500, the successor to the S-300 and S-400 air defence systems, had reached its final stage.
With the S-500's specs remaining officially classified, the system is reportedly capable of destroying targets up to 600 kilometres (372 miles) away, and it is also believed to be able to track and simultaneously strike up to 10 ballistic targets moving at speeds up to 7 kilometres (4 miles) per second (approximately Mach 20).
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