US, NATO clarify Chinese missile system not interoperable
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey has announced a $4 billion order for a Chinese missile defence system, which is a breakthrough for China in its bid to become a supplier of advanced weapons, even though opposition from Washington and NATO threatens to derail the deal. The U.S. Patriot missiles (seen in picture) were among the bidders. DAILY NEWS photoNATO and the U.S. clearly conveyed to Ankara that a Chinese missile defense system will not be interoperable with NATO systems, with Turkey claiming that the proposed system will be compatible with existing systems.
Full integration with NATO assets was an explicit condition in the contract for the planned air defense system, said Murad Bayar, head of the Undersecretariat for Defense Procurement, in September, adding that a Turkish defense company will produce an interface to integrate the Chinese anti-missile system into its domestic air defense system, so that there would be no exchange of operational data with the Chinese company.
Yet, NATO members, particularly west wing NATO countries, and the U.S., conveyed to Ankara that the Chinese CPMIEC systems would not be integrated into NATO systems, an Ankara-based Western diplomat told Hürriyet Daily News.
The Chinese system would degrade the effectiveness of Turkey’s expectations for its planned air defense capabilities if the system is not supported by NATO’s advanced radar facilities, such as the one deployed in Kürecik, according to the diplomat, who also stressed that one of the crucial components of such an air defense system is collecting data through radar technology in order to catch the threat.
Although its Western allies clearly communicated to Ankara that the Chinese system will not be supported by NATO’s network, Ankara could be insisting on the Chinese company given that it might be mulling the sale of defense systems to third party countries in the future, the diplomat said.
Chinese CPMIEC has placed the lowest bid of $3.44 billion for the tender, offered transfer of design technology and joint production.
U.S. examines legal outcomes of Turkey’s deal with sanctioned Chinese company
These concerns were high on the agenda of Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Jim Miller who had talks with the ministries of defense, foreign affairs and the General Staff in Ankara last week.
In his meetings, Miller discussed possible problems that may rise to the surface if the Turkish government decides to enter into a contract with a US-sanctioned company, stressing that the Chinese system will not be interoperable with NATO systems or collective defense capabilities.
Miller also mentioned the possibility of a Turkish deal with a US-sanctioned company hampering ongoing and upcoming contracts involving the joint manufacture of U.S. military components in Turkey, due to legal restrictions.
The U.S. government has been examining what legal ramifications may arise from joint production with Turkish defense companies such as with Aselsen, Tai, should they decide to enter into joint production with a US-sanctioned Chinese company and occupy their facilities.
Turkey, one of nine countries that are part of a US-led consortium to build the F-35 fighter, is licensed to produce Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter components.
Turkey and US-based Sikorsky are planning to sign an agreement for the production of military helicopters.
In early 2013, the U.S. announced sanctions on CPMIEC for violations of the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act.
The Italian-French consortium Eurosam, manufacturer of the SAMP/T Aster 30 is the second, and the U.S. partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, offering the Patriot air defense system, is the third bidder in Turkey’s evaluation list, if the contract talks with the Chinese company fails.
Turkey has said it is likely to sign the deal with CPMIEC but that its decision is not yet final.