Turkey’s Chinese missile system won’t work with US

Turkey’s Chinese missile system won’t work with US

DUBAI - Reuters
Turkey’s Chinese missile system won’t work with US

The US Patriot air defense system, seen in the photo, is one of the systems competing for Turkey’s long-range anti-missile and air defense systems. REUTERS photo

If Turkey buys a missile defense system from China, it would not be able to integrate it with NATO or U.S. systems and would miss out on decades of training, support and upgrades that come with U.S. systems, a top U.S. official said at the Dubai Airshow.

Heidi Grant, Air Force deputy undersecretary for international affairs, said Turkey was a sovereign country and had the right to spend its funds on whatever it liked.

But U.S. officials have explained to Turkey that proceeding with a decision to purchase a system made by a Chinese firm under U.S. sanctions would reduce its ability to coordinate missile defense activities with NATO and the United States.

“If they select a system that’s not inter-operable, that’s their choice. They’ve chosen not to be inter-operable,” Grant told Reuters in an interview. “Our role is to make sure they’re informed of our recommendation of the best systems to be inter-operable with the U.S.”

Grant said military officials around the world were clamoring for increased ability to operate in coalitions with the United States and other partners.

Decision may change

“In the dialogues I have, the partners want to be part of us,” Grant said. “They know that our technology is the most capable technology. They know that we’ll be there for 20-plus years for the sustainment, for the training, for the (concept of operations), and for the upgrades. We’re a trusted partner.”

General Akın Öztürk, the head of the Turkish air force, on Nov. 16 told an air chiefs conference his country’s decision to buy a $3.4 billion missile defense system from a Chinese company was not final, and could still change.

Turkey announced in September it had chosen the FD-2000 long-range air and missile defense system built by China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp over rival offers from Franco-Italian Eurosam SAMP/T and Raytheon Co.