In September, CNBC learned that Turkey was in the process of constructing a site for the Russian S-400 system despite warnings from the United States to not buy the platform, according to a source with firsthand knowledge of an intelligence report.
In multiple efforts to deter Turkey from buying the S-400, the U.S. State Department offered in 2013 and 2017 to sell it a Patriot missile system. Ankara passed on Patriot both times because the U.S. declined to provide a transfer of the system’s sensitive missile technology.
The intelligence assessment included satellite imagery of a concrete launch facility as well as bunkers, according to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The new construction fits the pattern for Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missile system, the source indicated.
The S-400 missile system, equipped with eight launchers and 32 missiles, is capable of targeting and collecting valuable technical intelligence from the F-35. Similarly, the S-400 cannot be operated alongside NATO defense systems.
The Turkey-U.S. military relationship took more anxious turns Monday, when the U.S. halted delivery of two F-35 fighter jets to Ankara and an agreement to sell the Patriot system to Turkey expired.
On Tuesday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said he expected the dispute with Turkey over its planned purchase of Russia’s S-400 system to be resolved.
“I expect we’ll solve the problem so that they have the right defense equipment in terms of Patriots and F-35s,” Shanahan told a small group of reporters at the Pentagon.
WATCH: U.S. halts delivery of F-35 equipment to Turkey