Turkey to explore development of national air defence system

On 5 January, Turkey has awarded the Franco-Italian Eurosam consortium and two Turkish weapon manufacturers, Roketsan and Aselsan, a contract to study the feasibility of a possible future Turkish Long Range Air and Missile Defence System. The decision was made at a meeting in Paris between President Erdogan and President Macron.

This is the result of a previous cooperation agreement signed between the three companies on 14 July 2017 and the subsequent air defence cooperation accord signed by the French, Italian and Turkish Defence Ministers on 8 November. Nevertheless, Turkey is still moving forward with the purchase of Russia's S-400 system, which raised concerns among its NATO allies but in the end was deemed practical and not having political connotations by Secretary General Stoltenberg. The S-400 purchase seems to be a short-term solution for Turkey who never had its own air-defence system. After the withdrawal of German and Dutch Patriot batteries in 2015, its territory became increasingly exposed to potential missile attacks from Syria. The feasibility study, scheduled to last 18 months, could pave the way for a Long Range Air and Missile Defense Program, which could deliver a Turkish air defence system that can be be fully integrated into NATO defence mechanisms by 2025.

About author: Mihai Turcanu

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