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Turkey eyes S-400 missile shield

  |   April 28, 2009 at 6:11 PM
ISTANBUL, Turkey, April 28 (UPI) -- Turkish officials have stated their willingness to consider purchasing the Russian S-400 strategic missile-defense system, Russian officials said.

Anatoly Aksenov with the Russian arms export monopoly Rosoboronexport said Turkish Undersecretary of Defense Murad Bayar had considered the S-400 missile defense system during a recent meeting, RIA Novosti reports.

"Turkey has expressed a strong interest in buying the S-400 air-defense systems from Russia," Aksenov said.

RIA Novosti cited an anonymous source as saying the possible sale of the defense system depends on the outcome of the lingering disputes over U.S. plans to develop a missile-defense system in central Europe.

"We have explained to Turkish officials that S-400 is not just a simple air-defense system but an element of strategic missile defenses, which can be placed in one country but protect the airspace over a number of neighboring countries," the source said.

The S-400 has a range of around 250 miles for the interception of airborne targets, twice that of its American counterpart, the MIM-104 Patriot. For strikes against aircraft, the range increases to 2,200 miles and boasts speeds of up to 3 miles per second.

The S-400 is believed to be an effective deterrent against stealth aircraft as well.

The comments from Aksenov come as Russia launches a weapons exhibition in Istanbul.

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