The CEO of Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state-owned arms exporter, has said that technology transfer for the production of parts for Russia’s S-400 air defense system has begun with Turkey, Sputnik Turkish reported on Monday.
Answering reporters’ questions at the Dubai Air Show, Alexander Mikheev said they had begun to cooperate with Turkey on S-400 technology transfer and that parts of the missile defense system would be locally produced in Turkey.
The Rosoboronexport CEO didn’t mention which parts Turkey would be producing; however, he recalled that agreements made with Turkey call for production of some parts of the system in Turkey.
In an earlier statement, Mikheev said Turkey and Russia could soon sign another agreement for the sale of a second batch of S-400s to Turkey.
Turkey’s initial purchase of S-400s from Russia strained ties with the United States and its NATO allies.
Despite warnings from the United States and other NATO allies, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan brokered a deal worth $2.5 billion with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the S-400 missile system in 2017.
Despite Washington’s warnings and threats of US sanction, Turkey started taking delivery of the first S-400s in July 2019. In response, Washington removed Turkey from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, in which Ankara was a manufacturer and buyer.
The S-400, a mobile surface-to-air missile system, could pose a risk to the NATO alliance as well as to the F-35, America’s most expensive weapons platform, according to Turkey’s Western allies.
Washington imposed sanctions in December on Turkey’s military procurement agency as punishment for its purchase of the Russian-made missile defense system under CAATSA, which mandates penalties for transactions deemed harmful to US interests.
Turkey’s Presidency of the Defense Industry (SSB), its chief İsmail Demir and three other officials were targeted by the sanctions, which include a ban on all US export licenses and authorizations to SSB as well as asset freezes and visa restrictions on Demir and the other individuals.
The US, which had also previously removed Turkey from its F-35 stealth fighter development and training program over the S-400 purchase, still hopes to persuade its ally to “walk away” from the Russian system.