Russia and Turkey on Friday signed an agreement which has Ankara make a down payment on an advanced anti-missile air defense system.
Turkey had previously indicated that it was interested in buying the Russian S-400 anti-missile air defense system to boost its air defense stature.
An agreement was reached between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Russian counterpart in April, but the price tag was still in negotiation then. The deal was finalized on September 12.
“The contract has entered into force, the advance payment has been made, I cannot say about the timeframe now,” Vladimir Kozhin, an aid to Russian President Vladimir Putin who is on a trip to Turkey, said on Friday.
Turkish Undersecretary for Defense Industry Ismail Demir told the Russian news agency TASS that the delivery of the air defense system would begin within two years.
Putin arrived in Ankara late Thursday and met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss latest developments in Syria and the Kurdish referendum on independence in Iraq.
According to diplomats from both sides, the two leaders discussed means to protect the de-escalation zones in northern Syria, particularly in Idlib province.
Last week, the Russian Ministry of Defense said that it had to send in special forces to evacuate Russian police who had come under ambush by the Al Nusra extremist rebel group while patrolling Idlib.
The S-400 is believed to be able to engage all types of aerial targets including aircraft and VLO (Very Low Observable) craft.
The S-400s popularity lies in the fact it can shield from air strikes and neutralise drones as well as strategic, cruise, tactical and operating tactical ballistic missiles and medium-range ballistic missiles within a range of 400 kms up to an altitude of close to 32 kms.
The S-400 ‘Triumf’ air defence missile systems is equipped with three different types of missiles and an acquisition radar capable of tracking up to 300 targets within the range of nearly 600 kms.
Triumf is a system made of eight launchers and a control station.
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