Turkey conducted its first test of its Russian-made S-400 at the end of November, flouting NATO’s admonishments about the air-defense system just days before a summit of the alliance’s leaders.
The S-400 system isn’t operational yet, but the saga around it and Ankara’s other activities present real and ongoing challenges to NATO, despite the alliance’s leaders’ attempts to play down growing rifts.
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After months of warnings from the US and other NATO members, Turkey tested its S-400s last week, putting the Russian-made air-defense system, deployed to an airbase near Ankara, up against US-made F-16 jets.
The S-400 was delivered to Turkey this summer but hasn’t become operational, which Ankara has said will happen in April.
But the system has been a point of contention since before it arrived in Turkey, and despite NATO leaders’ assertions otherwise, the S-400 is one of many issues casting a pall over the alliance as it turns 70 years old.
‘We are talking about it constantly’
NATO is concerned about the S-400’s potential to hinder interoperability among its forces, though Turkey says the S-400 will not be integrated with NATO systems. The US is especially worried about its potential to compromise technology on the F-35 stealth fighter. It has already kicked Turkey out of the F-35 program.
The US also continues to threaten Turkey with sanctions over the S-400 — lawmakers from both parties, angered by Turkey’s incursion in Syria, have called on Trump to impose them.
US officials have often paired criticism of Turkey for the purchase with optimism that the dispute can be resolved.
“Turkey’s acquisition of sophisticated Russian military equipment, such as the S-400, creates some very serious challenges for us, and we are talking about it constantly,” President Donald …read more
Source:: Business Insider