Turkey first NATO member to sign for S-400s: Tech chief

Russia ‘ready to cooperate’ if Turkey wants to buy Su-57 fighter jets, says Head of Russian state-run tech corporation

Turkey is the first NATO country to sign a contract for the Russian S-400 missile defense system, the head of a Russian state-owned umbrella company for export-oriented defense and civilian industries said on Thursday. 

Despite unprecedented pressure regarding the S-400 deal, Turkey continues holding a very direct and consistent position regarding implementation of all the contract provisions, Rostec Corporation’s Sergey Chemezov told Anadolu Agency in Moscow. 

The fact that Turkey does not yield to pressure from its partners demonstrates the independence of its foreign policy as pursued by country’s government and president, he added. 

“We signed the contract for the S-400s in 2017, and before the end of this year, we plan to conclude all deliveries,” Chemezov said, adding that the deal was significant for both Moscow and Ankara. 

He also said Russia invited the prospect of cooperation with Turkey in the development of the next generation air defense system — the S-500 project. 

“The S-500s are currently under development and will be a Russian state-of-the-art air defense system without equal throughout the world,” he said emphasizing that both countries had the capacity to contribute to such a project.  

Russia ready to replace F-35 with Su-57 

Chemezov stressed that Russia was “ready to cooperate” to sell Ankara Su-57 fighter jets if Turkey’s participation in the F-35 jet program with the U.S. fell through. 

“These fifth-generation Russian fighter jets [Su-57] have outstanding qualities, and show promise for export,” he said, adding that the jets were ready to be sold. 

Asked about possible production in Turkey of the S-400 and Su-57, Chemezov said Russia would “gladly evaluate” any Turkish suggestions for localization or transfer of technologies. 

Emphasizing Turkey’s progress since the early 2000s to replace imports in its defense industry, he said the country was highly competent in producing rifle armaments, armored vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

“We are ready to support Turkey’s desire to develop its own defense industry,” added Chemezov.