Minister: S400 missiles are ready to shoot if necessary

The Russian-made S-400 missile defense system is ready to operate and will be utilized if the country is threatened, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Nov. 22.

“We have no problems with the S-400 [systems],” he said addressing the parliament’s planning and the budget committee late on Nov. 22.

Upon the lawmakers’ questions regarding the S-400 defense systems, Akar said Türkiye first requested Patriot and SAMP-T for the supply of long-range region, air and missile defense systems, but purchased S-400 systems when the initial plans were not realized.

“They ask where [the S-400 systems] are. The S-400 is in place and ready for use. It has a transfer time. After that, everything will be ready in an hour. If such a threat develops in any way, we will take it and use it after deciding where our country’s air defense will be,” the minister said.

The contract Türkiye and Russia signed in a deal for the purchase of two batches of S-400s. Türkiye deployed the first batch of the Russian air defense systems in mid-2019, which triggered sanctions from the U.S. It was excluded from the F-35 joint fighter program, and five aircraft Türkiye has paid for have not been delivered. The Russian system can harm the NATO alliance through its ability to detect detailed information about F-35 jets, the U.S. claims.

In a separate statement late on Nov. 22, the minister elaborated on the recent state of Türkiye’s operation into Syria and Iraq.