UK-Made Drones Could Have Been Used as Targets in Turkey's Alleged S-400 Test, US Media Claims

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The US strongly opposed the Turkish intention to buy Russian-made air defence systems and recently warned Ankara against officially deploying it, let alone running practical tests. Numerous reports, however, have suggested that Turkey plans to test its S-400s between 10 and 16 October.

Turkey transported 10 UK-made Banshee target drones to the Sinop firing range at the same time it was purportedly transferring its S-400 air defence systems to the same location, the Drive magazine said, citing reports. According to the magazine, the drones could have been part of the alleged capability tests of the S-400s Ankara purchased from Russia.

Турция провела испытания приобретенных в России зенитных ракетных систем (ЗРС) С-400. Испытания проводились в районе Синопа.

Каких-либо официальных заявлений от МО Турции в настоящий момент не опубликовано.

— SwankyStas (@StasSwanky) October 16, 2020

While the tests themselves have never been officially confirmed, Turkish social media users have posted several videos of a missile trail in the air near Sinop on 16 October. Prior to this, netizens also posted videos showing the transporting of the S-400 missile systems in the direction of the city of Sinop, located on the Black Sea coast.

Sputnik's source in the defence industry said that the tests took place and were successful. According to the source, S-400s successfully downed three targets with three missiles.

US Opposes Turkey's Tests of S-400s

The reports of Turkey purportedly testing its S-400s sparked concern in the US, with the State Department vowing to condemn the trial, should it be confirmed. Washington further threatened Ankara with consequences to bilateral cooperation, if it tested or decided to test the systems obtained from Russia.

"If confirmed, we would condemn in the strongest terms the S-400 test missile launch as incompatible with Turkey's responsibilities as a NATO ally and strategic partner of the US. The US has been clear on our expectation that the S-400 system should not be operationalised. We have also been clear on the potential serious consequences for our security relationship if Turkey activates the system", State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.

The US has been opposing the plans of its NATO ally to buy the Russian systems since the deal was struck in 2017, but Ankara insisted that its national security needs required an air defence system. Turkey further pointed out that Washington had stalled talks on the sale of Patriot systems for years, prompting the country's decision to procure defences from another supplier.

© Sputnik / Sergey Malgavko

Washington claims Russia's S-400s are incompatible with the NATO defence grid, despite having no issues in the past with Greece buying S-300 systems from Moscow. The other point of concern for the US is an allegation that the Kremlin might use the Turkish S-400s to reveal weaknesses in American jets, including the F-35. Turkey repeatedly offered the White House to jointly work out a solution to these concerns, but Washington has dismissed them and insisted on Turkey ditching the systems or at least not activating them, threatening to slap the country with sanctions otherwise. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called these demands unacceptable.

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