What could Turkey’s latest S-400 missile tests mean? aljazeera.com

Alex Gatopoulos, News Editor and Defence Analyst at Al Jazeera

Turkey is set to carry out more tests of its controversial Russian S-400 anti-aircraft defence system.

Last year, Turkey bought the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft defence system, in spite of fierce objections from the United States. In early October, S-400 units were being taken to the Black Sea, near Sinop in northern Turkey, for another round of tests that are likely to renew concerns among Turkey’s NATO allies and its neighbours. […]

Medium to long-range, its detection radar can spot and track incoming aircraft, directing a barrage of missiles at their targets to a range of 400km (249 miles). By contrast, the US Patriot can only fire one missile at a time and go a quarter of the distance. The S-400 can engage low-flying targets as well as those at high altitudes, and it can destroy incoming missiles that move at high speeds. […]

The US officially expelled Turkey from its F-35 fighter jet programme in July last year. Washington is concerned that being part of a US stealth fighter programme is incompatible with owning and operating a potential adversary’s weapons system that is designed, in part, to shoot down US-made aircraft. Would the S-400 be incorporated into NATO communications nets? Would it be able to extract valuable data on US stealth aircraft like the F-35? […]

Greece, which operates an older version, the S-300, with little or no complaints from the US, is especially worried given it was a Greek fighter jet that the S-400 was tested on, as tensions simmer between the two NATO members. The S-400 would allow Turkey to cover the whole of the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean. […]

It is yet unclear how Russia will react if it is deployed against Russian aircraft, a scenario all too possible in the near future as the two countries find themselves backing opposing sides in Syria and Libya. Whether in northern Syria or in central Libya, this weapon will have the ability to shoot down its enemies with ease but will become a prime target for any adversary – at once a temptation and a danger to itself. Läs artikel