Moscow is in a hurry to deliver the S-400 Turkey

The newest Russian surface-to-air missile systems will appear in Turkey in the summer of 2019 instead of in the spring of 2020.
On Wednesday, the secretariat of the Turkish defense industry said that the delivery of S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft missile systems will begin in July 2019, although the transfer was originally scheduled for March 2020. Sources of Kommersant say that this is an unprecedented concession to Moscow, a decision that was taken during the talks between Russian and Turkish Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. For the manufacturer of the systems, the Almaz-Antey Concern, the new terms for the implementation of the agreement should not become a problem, since the RF Ministry of Defense in 2018 will receive most of the previously contracted anti-aircraft systems.

As the sources close to the MTC system told Kommersant, the issue of accelerating the implementation of the contract for the supply of Turkey to the S-400 SAM was one of the key issues in the entire negotiating agenda of Vladimir Putin. Speaking at a press conference following the talks with Mr. Erdogan, he confirmed that the terms of arms delivery will be accelerated "at the request of our Turkish partners and friends." The president did not specify the acceleration scale, but the deputy head of the Turkish defense industry secretariat, Ismayil Demir, said that the first batch of these systems is scheduled for delivery in July 2019. The Federal Service for MTC abstained from official comments, and the head of Rosoboronexport Alexander Mikheyev only assured that Moscow "will do everything necessary to fulfill the request of the Turkish side."

The contract for the supply of the Turkish army of four S-400 battalions worth about $ 2.5 billion was signed in July 2017. To implement it, a credit scheme will be used: Ankara will pay about 45% of the cost of the contract on its own, and the remaining 55% will be covered by borrowed funds that will be given out by the RF Ministry of Finance. According to "Kommersant", Turkey plans to repay the loan within four years, returning annually 15% of the loan amount. In the first version of the contract it was indicated that the deliveries should begin no later than March 22, 2020. Now, apparently, an additional agreement will be signed to it, correcting the beginning of deliveries. According to a high-ranking military source, "Kommersant", such a concession is "to some extent unprecedented": "The execution of the contract in such a short time demonstrates the high level of our relations."

"It seems that the history of the S-400 has turned for President Erdogan into a kind of symbolic project to demonstrate the US challenge to this deal," said Mikhail Barabanov, editor-in-chief of the Moscow Defense Brief. Andrei Frolov, editor-in-chief of the magazine "Export of Arms", notes that it is important for Turkey to get its first long-range anti-aircraft system to demonstrate "its independence in the defense plan". Director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Ruslan Pukhov assumes that there were no difficulties for Ankara to play up for Moscow, since in the future this can help not only the Turks "impress" the West, but also consolidate Russia's positions in the arms market. Let us note that Turkey has become de facto the first NATO country to purchase such a serious air defense system. Earlier, Vladimir Kozhin, the presidential aide on the military-technical cooperation, told Kommersant that Russia's geopolitical interests in this contract are "obvious": "Turkey is our closest neighbor, we are interested in having a stable, predictable political situation in Turkey."

There are no difficulties with the implementation of the contract, says the top manager of one of the defense industry enterprises: taking into account the commissioning of the capacities of the Kirov machine-building enterprise (it can produce up to 2,500 missiles to the SAM of all types per year) and the Nizhny Novgorod Machine-Building Plant (up to 25 SAMs annually) the task looks more than feasible. " In the opinion of one of the interlocutors of Kommersant, in case of force majeure, the Russian Defense Ministry will be able to relinquish part of its stockpile for the S-400 to speed up the supply of equipment to a foreign partner. This practice was applied, for example, in the execution of the first Kazakh contract for the Su-30SM fighter aircraft, when the chief of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov handed over for revision four aircraft ordered in the framework of the state defense order. A source from Kommersant in the Defense Ministry said that the concern steadily ships "four hundred" in the interests of the agency (since 2012 the armed forces have received 16 such regimental kits, and in 2018, they have to get five more). In parallel, Almaz-Antey started the first deliveries of S-400 equipment under a contract with China (in 2014, Beijing bought four divisions of Triumphs for $ 1.9 billion).