US, Turkey in rift over S-400
If Turkey moves forward with its buy of a Russian air defense system, it will not be permitted to plug into NATO technology and further action may be forthcoming that could affect the country’s acquisition or operation of the F-35, a top U.S. Air Force official was quoted as saying on Nov. 15 by the Defense News.
Heidi Grant, deputy undersecretary of the U.S. Air Force for international affairs, reportedly made the comments on the floor of Dubai Air Show, where she met with companies and partner countries.
Grant’s comments came after Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 surface-to-air mmissiles had been “completed.”
Grant was however unable to say exactly what course of action the United States would pursue once Turkey was delivered the S-400s from Russia.
“As a major NATO ally, we haven’t really looked into this yet,” she reportedly said in an interview with the Defense News. “We’re going to have to start looking at, if they are going to go through with this, how we can be interoperable in the future. But right now, I can tell you our policies do not allow us to be interoperable with that system.”
Grant has also commented on the planned delivery of Turkey’s first F-35s in 2018, saying that the S-400 acquisition also creates issue for the country’s use of the F-35.
The U.S. is worried that Turkey operating both the S-400 and F-35 together will lead Russia to find out about the vulnerabilities of the F-35.
“It’s a significant concern, not only to the United States, because we need to protect this high end technology, fifth-generation technology” but for “all of our partners and allies that have already purchased the F-35,” Grant said.