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A Russian aircraft carrying the first pieces of a Russian S-400 missile defense system photographed at Akinci Air Base near Ankara, Turkey, on July 12, 2019. Reuters

This is a subject that has caused very strong tensions for months between Ankara and Washington: the purchase by Turkey of Russian anti-missile system S-400. This Friday, July 12, Ankara received the first components of this Russian defense system. The S-400 is considered by some experts as the most powerful anti-missile battery currently.

From our correspondent in Moscow , Daniel Vallot

An armored truck surmounted by four tubes of missiles, that's what the S-400 looks like. Developed in the 1990s by the Russian defense industry, the S-400 is the heir to a Soviet tradition, that of anti-aircraft defense . In fact, these characteristics make it a formidable weapon, able to match - even to surpass according to some experts - the American patriot.

The S-400 can intervene in less than ten seconds, locate a threat several hundred kilometers away and intercept both planes and missiles. Since being put into service by the Russian army in 2007, the S-400 has already won very large international contracts. Russia has notably sold it to China and India.

But with Turkey, Moscow sells its system to a member of NATO, which has aroused the fury of the United States. Washington has also threatened Turkey with sanctions and not to sell him the F-35s, which were to equip his air force. For Russia, the S-400 is not only a technological and military success, it has also become a diplomatic weapon of first choice.

Washington's first sanctions could fall very quickly

From our correspondent in Istanbul, Anne Andlauer

In addition to a series of economic sanctions, one of the main consequences of the arrival on the Turkish soil of a Russian system of high-performance anti-aircraft and antiaircraft defense, the S-400, risks being the exclusion of Ankara from the F-35 program.

The F-35 is an American fighter jet that Turkey and other countries contribute to make. Ankara has already invested more than $ 1 billion in this program, and it plans to buy a hundred or so aircraft to renew its air force.

But Washington has been clear: it will be either the S-400 or the F-35. The former could compromise the security of the latter, argues the United States. And they are not wrong, confirms the Turkish expert Sinan Ülgen:

" There is indeed a kind of uncertainty at the Washington level as this Russian system can" hack "the F-35 platform. Turkey can not guarantee that the necessary measures will be taken to completely eliminate this risk of electronic espionage of the F-35 systems. It is therefore impossible to eliminate such objections from Washington. "

Beyond these technical issues, which are far from secondary, the upcoming crisis also hides very political issues: the United States does not admit that a NATO country, namely Turkey, provide missiles to another country, Russia, which they consider a threat.