Turkey on Friday reportedly test fired its Russian-made air defense system which they had acquired last year over the strenuous objections of the United States.
Video footage emerged on social media reported “comprehensive test” of the S-400 system in the country’s Sinop province on the Black Sea coast. Though unconfirmed, they show narrow columns of smoke snaking into the sky over that region that do appear to be broadly consistent with S-400 missile launches that we’ve seen in the past.
The start of the air defense missile tests was subsequently reported by various outlets including the Associated Press, which noted that Turkish TV channel Haber, which AP describes as being close to the government in Ankara, had claimed to have confirmed the details.
Russia’s state-run TASS news agency subsequently quoted an unnamed source “in military and diplomatic circles,” stating that the Turkish S-400 tests involved three missiles being launched, all of which successfully engaged their designated targets.
The reported missile test also seems to follow a pattern of recently reported movements of S-400 system components within Sinop province.
Early last week, Turkey also issued a Notice to Airmen, or NOTAM, alerting pilots to potential hazards in the area.
Turkish military and government officials declined to comment on the reports, according to the AP.
The Pentagon later acknowledged the reports and quickly condemned the alleged test, saying in a statement that “an operation S-400 system is not consistent with Turkey’s commitments as the U.S. and NATO Ally.”
“We object to Turkey’s purchase of the system and are deeply concerned with reports that Turkey is bringing it into operation. It should not be activated,” Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said.
Turkey’s decision to purchase the $2.5 billion Russian system resulted in them being shut out of the program to purchase the U.S. built F-35 Lightning II fighter jet.