Jun 03 2018

Turkey turning to Russia for Su-57 jets a nightmare for NATO - analysis

After U.S. Senate passed a defense spending bill last month, seeking to prevent Turkey from getting the 100 F-35 fighter jets it had ordered, Turkey could turn to Russia's Su-57 "stealth" jet killer in what would be a nightmare scenario for NATO, says Alex Lockie in article he penned for Business Insider.

The U.S. bill would end the sale of F-35 jets to Turkey due to the arrest of American pastor Andrew Brunson and Turkey’s purchase of Russian S400 air defence systems. Brunson has been imprisoned in Turkey for more than 18 months charged with backing terrorist groups. 

‘’The US and Turkey have a number of ongoing diplomatic beefs, including Turkey claiming that the US is harboring clerics that urged a 2016 coup and detaining US citizens, and the US is claiming Turkey is a hub of illicit financing,’’ Lockie points out; however, on the military side of things, NATO-member Turkey poses another threat by buying Russia's S-400 missile defense system.

‘’If Turkey owned the F-35 and the S-400, it would give Russia a window into NATO's missile defense network and the F-35's next-generation capabilities,’’ Lockie says.

However, with the future of Turkey’s F-35 jets up in the air, Turkey has been eyeing Russia's Su-57 "stealth" fighter jet.

There are increasing reports that the NATO-member country is considering the purchase of Russian Su-57 fighter jets should Washington decide to pull the plug on the delivery of F-35 jets, which was originally scheduled to begin in June.

Retired US Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula cites the poor reputation of Russian aircraft, its maintenance records, noting that buying Su-57s wouldn't make sense for Turkey.

"If they bought the Su-57s and the S-400, those steps are incompatible with them buying the F-35. It's going to be either or," the article quoted Deptula as saying.

Despite the unproven nature of Russia's new fighter jet, it does appear to be be direct competitor for US stealth jets like the F-22 and F-35, the article points out.

Turkey’s purchase of Russian Su-57s would - for military and diplomatic reasons - be a nightmare scenario for NATO's security.