The S-400 missile system may be delivered to Turkey on Tuesday, the Haberturk newspaper said.
According to the paper, the S-400 system was loaded onto two cargo planes on Monday night. The planes are expected to depart for Turkey from an airbase near the Russian city of Tver on Tuesday, Haberturk added.
The Haberturk TV channel earlier said, citing sources, that the loading of the S-400 system might begin on July 7. According to the TV channel, the first system was scheduled to be loaded onto a cargo plane on Sunday, while nine Russian technical experts were to arrive in Turkey by Monday in order to assist in the deployment of the S-400 system. The TV channel added that at first, one system would be delivered to Ankara.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier that the S-400 system was being loaded onto planes to be dispatched to Turkey. However, he declined to announce an exact delivery date, TASS reports.
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that the delivery of the missile system to Ankara proceeded in accordance with the contract.
News about Russian-Turkish talks on the delivery of the S-400 system first came in November 2016. In September 2017, Erdogan announced that Ankara had signed a contract with Moscow on purchasing the S-400 system and made an advance payment. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said later that Ankara would begin the deployment of the S-400 system in October 2019. Russia’s Rostec State Corporation Sergei Chemezov said in December 2017 that the deal was worth $2.5 bln.
Meanwhile, the United States continues attempts to prevent Turkey from purchasing the Russian missile system. Washington stated that it will exclude Ankara from the F-35 program if Turkey buys the S-400.
The S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is the most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system that went into service in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range ones, and can also be used against ground objectives. The S-400 system can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 35 km.