Air Defense: Turks Buy Protection From Russian Weapons

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August 26,2008:  Turkey has spent $100 million to buy S-300V (SA-12), S-300 (SA-10) and Tor-M1 (SA-15) air defense systems from Ukraine and Belarus. The U.S. also did this in the 1990s, to develop electronic countermeasures against these systems. Turkey also wants to develop countermeasures, and sell hardware and software for this on the international market. The U.S. kept its countermeasures classified.

The Tor-M1, known to NATO as the SA-15 Gauntlet, has a maximum range of 12 kilometers. It is only effective up to 6,000 meters altitude. The system was designed as a successor to the SA-N-8 Gecko. Each launcher carries eight missiles, and it is claimed to be capable of engaging two targets simultaneously. The system was designed to be a tactical battlefield air-defense system, designed to take out close-air-support planes like the A-10 or tactical fighter-bombers like the F-4, F-16, and F-18.

 Roughly equivalent to the U.S. Patriot, the Russian built S-300 was known as the SA-10 to NATO, when the system first appeared in the early 1980s. Improved versions were tagged the SA-12. S-300 missiles weigh 1.8 tons each and are 26 feet long and about 20 inches in diameter. The missiles have a range of 70-100 kilometers (depending on the model) and can hit targets as high as 100,000 feet. The missile has a 320 pound warhead.

Russia sold the S-300 to Cyprus in 1998, but Greece ended up with them to settle a dispute between Cyprus and Turkey (a long story…). The Turks want S-300 countermeasures in case the Greek Cypriots get their S-300s operational, and get into a fight with the Turkish Cypriots (who are defended by 15,000 Turkish troops.)

 


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