Growing Interest in Russian Missile Systems

missile systems

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India, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are likely to go ahead with S-400 missile defense systems purchase from Moscow, despite the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanction Act (CAATSA).  The Act requires that the countries that have significant defense cooperation with Russia can be sanctioned by the US for no fault of theirs except that they have entered into a commercial buyer-seller agreement with a Russian defense industry entity.

India plans to buy five S-400 Triumf air defense systems for an approximate $4.5 billion. Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are also eyeing to buy S-400 systems. Turkey has rejected the US demand for cancellation of the purchase of S-400 units from Russia. For now, the US efforts seem to be targeting countries that have signed up to buy the S-400 system, according to

Significantly, the Trump administration has been silent on sanctioning China, which is the first country to actually receive its first lot of S-400 missile systems and is expected to receive more in future.

The US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert had stated that Washington has “serious concerns about Turkey’s potential acquisition of the systems.” She said that, as a fellow NATO member, the country should only be using NATO-compatible systems.

Turkish officials responded with a resolute “no” to the demand. They said S-400 will be bought since Turkey needs them.

The US statement that “Ankara risks falling under sanctions if it purchases S-400 systems from Russia, is exactly an example of a blackmailing attempt in the hope that it will be possible to ensure unfair competition for American companies,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was quoted as saying by

Saudi Arabia is continuing talks of procuring the missile defense system although it threatens its neighbor, Qatar against acquiring the system. Saudi Arabia signed an agreement during King Salman’s visit to Moscow in October last year with the intent to formalize the deal in 2018. Saudi Arabia is also eyeing technology transfer for local production.

CAATSA may impact countries such as Algeria, Myanmar, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, and Ethiopia because of their significant defense relationships with Russia.