Russia will begin to deliver S-400 missile systems to Turkey in 2019, Interfax reports. The CEO of Rosboroexport, Russia's state military exporter, said that "the contract is implemented within the agreed time limits. In 2019 we will start implementing the contract."
The S-400 can destroy targets at a range of up to 400 kilometers. The United States believes that Turkish acquisition of the system poses a danger to US-made fighter jets that Turkey also imports- notably the F-35- as it can detect their radar signals more effectively than other systems can. The use of both systems in Turkey, experts warn, could give Russia greater capabilities to detect and counter US jets.
The United States has already temporarily blocked the transfer of up to 100 F-35 jets due to Turkey's continued detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson. The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which included this ban, also includes a provision that would sanction Turkish officials involved in the transaction under the Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act were Turkey to receive S-400 systems. US officials have warned Turkey not to go through with the deal.
The announcement comes as US-Turkey relations continue to deteriorate over sanctions, an economic crisis, and Brunson's continued imprisonment.