Turkey may give nod to Russian missile defense offer

Turkey may reconsider a Russian proposal to jointly develop a missile defense complex if the price is right and the technology transfer terms are more acceptable to Ankara, a high-ranking official said in Ankara earlier this week, Sputnik reports.

Turkey launched a tender for the purchase of long-range air defense systems in 2009. In 2013, Ankara announced that it had selected China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp’s (CPMIEC) FD-2000 area defense system for its air and missile defense requirement, dubbed T-LORAMIDS.

Beijing said it would line up the system for just $3.4 billion. Moreover, unlike the other bidders, Beijing agreed to have some of the missiles’ components to be built in Turkey, and to hand their construction technology over to the Turkish side.

CPMIEC’s bid beat out the more expensive proposals from Italian-French consortium Eurosam, maker of the SAMP/T Aster 30; a US partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, maker of the Patriot; and Russia’s Rosoboronexport, which makes the S-300/S-400.

The announcement caused concern among Turkey’s NATO allies, above all the United States. After the Chinese firm failed to meet all of the conditions of the $3.4 billion tender Turkey announced it would study rival bids.

“We could reconsider the Russian offer if the price and technology transfer terms are significantly improved to make them more acceptable to us,” the Turkish official said.

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