MOSCOW --- The delivery of Russian S-400 air defense missile systems to Turkey is scheduled to begin in July 2019, Turkish Undersecretary for Defense Industries Ismail Demir wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
"We have changed the delivery date of the S-400 systems, specified in the contract with Russia, to July 2019," the tweet reads.
According to Demir, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin particularly discussed "the possibility of expanding military cooperation" at their meeting in Ankara on Tuesday.
Following his talks with Erdogan, Putin commented on the decision to speed up the delivery of the S-300 systems to Turkey, saying that it was being done "at the request of our Turkish partners and friends." Besides, in Putin’s words, there are neither military nor political restrictions for the joint production of the S-400 missile systems, as well as for the transfer of the corresponding technologies to Ankara, since it is a purely commercial issue.
The news about Russian-Turkish talks on the delivery of the S-400 systems first came in November 2016. The contract’s signing was confirmed by Russia.
In September 2017, the Turkish President announced that Ankara had signed a contract with Moscow on purchasing the S-400 systems and made an advance payment.
Russian Presidential Aide for Military Cooperation Vladimir Kozhin said earlier that Moscow would begin implementing the contact in early 2020.
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 targets. The S-400 complex is capable of engaging targets at a distance of up to 400 km and at an altitude of up to 60 km.