The reason why the Turkish missile system is difficult to compete with the Russian S-400 and the American Patriot

Turkey lacks the resources, both financially and professionally, to be able to build its own air defense systems that can compete with the Russian S-400 or the US Patriot.

Patriot missile launcher. Image: Wikimedia Commons
Patriot missile launcher. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Turkey, currently the world’s 14th largest arms exporter, has been developing its military-industrial complex over the years as a national priority. However, Turkey still lacks the technological know-how to produce domestic air defense systems that can compete with Russia’s S-400 air defense system or the US Patriot.

Obstacles for Turkey

On December 28, 2021, Turkey announced that in 2022 it will continue to develop new air defense systems, HISAR and SiPER, as part of a domestic missile defense project with the aim of replacing replace S-400 and Patriot.Turkey has successfully tested HISAR A+ and HISAR O+ surface-to-air missile defense systems, stepping closer to the SiPER system.

Even so, experts believe it is unlikely that the SiPER system that Ankara plans to put into operation in 2023 will be a viable alternative to foreign options any time soon.

Turkey tests Siper anti-aircraft missile.
Turkey tests Siper anti-aircraft missile.

Turkey initially chose to buy the system from a foreign manufacturer, first from China, and when the project was canceled, it turned to Russia because it was faster and cheaper, according to expert Gareth Jenkins, a researcher Senior Fellow at the Institute for Security and Development Policy in Stockholm. “The problem is that developing an air defense system on its own will be very expensive and it will take a long time even if some technology transfers from foreign companies can be secured. And it will take much longer if Turkey has to try to produce all the technology on its own,”.

The main obstacle to Turkey’s ambitions to become a leading global arms manufacturer is that the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not well-versed in military technology. While it makes sense for the country to produce some goods domestically, Turkey lacks the resources, both financially and technically, to produce everything on its own,“It takes a long time to accumulate the necessary expertise and military technology is often extremely expensive. There is a huge difference between manufacturing a drone and building an effective air defense system or a stealth fighter,” .

“It takes a long time to accumulate the necessary expertise and military technology is often extremely expensive. There is a huge difference between manufacturing a drone and building an effective air defense system or a stealth fighter,”

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