ANKARA — In a multibillion-dollar deal, Turkey agreed Thursday to buy a Chinese-made long-range air- and missile-defense system — a move that could prevent the system from being integrated with Turkey’s existing NATO architecture.
A contract valued at a reported $3 billion was awarded to the China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp. CPMEIC, maker of the HQ-9 long-range air-defense and anti-missile system.
Turkey had been strongly leaning toward a Chinese system, Defense News reported in June.
The decision to acquire the system, dubbed T-Loramids, from the Chinese contender was made at a Thursday meeting of the Defense Industry Executive Committee, which oversees major procurement decisions and is chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The contract was initially expected to be worth $4 billion, but one procurement official said the Chinese manufacturer had reduced its proposal to around $3 billion.
T-Loramids consists of radar, launcher and intercept missiles. The system has been designed to counter both enemy aircraft and missiles. Turkey has no long-range air-defense systems.
CPMEIC said it will co-produce the system with Turkish prime and subcontractors. But diplomats and analysts warn that Turkey may not be allowed to integrate the Chinese-Turkish system into its mostly NATO-owned early warning assets.
Other contenders for the contract were a US partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, offering the Patriot air defense system; Russia’s Rosoboronexport, marketing the S-300; and the Italian-French consortium Eurosam, maker of the SAMP/T Aster 30.