At least 13 countries are interested in acquiring the Russian S-400 air defense systems instead of US platforms, despite the threat of US sanctions, CNBC said, citing sources close to US intelligence.
One of the channel’s sources, who requested anonymity, said that among the countries that have already expressed their interest in Russian systems are Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Vietnam and Iraq. But, the article points out, Washington hopes that some countries will eventually give up under diplomatic pressure.
Under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), the US can punish countries that purchase Russian armaments, especially the S-300 and S-400 systems. However, these countries have concerns that the U.S may eventually want to bomb them, and the hostile threat of sanctions are believed to be a tell-tale sign that a military campaign may shortly follow the economic warfare.
Answering the question why countries prefer Russian S-400s to American systems like THAAD or the Patriot, the source of the channel stressed that many countries are not willing to follow the complex process of buying arms from the US government.
“Many of these countries do not want to wait for U.S. regulatory hurdles,” the person said. “The S-400 has less export restrictions and the Kremlin is willing to expedite sales by skipping over any regulatory hurdles. It’s like buying it off the shelf,” the source added. In addition, Russian weapons are generally considered less expensive than American weapons.
In addition, it is becoming increasingly known that the U.S installs ‘hi-jack’ ware into the systems it sells, meaning that said systems will be rendered useless of the U.S remotely ‘flicks’ the ‘off’ switch.
China, India and Turkey have already signed agreements to buy S-400 systems with the Kremlin. China, involved in the trade war with the US, is on track to receive the latest shipment from the Russian system. India signed the contract with Moscow last month. Turkey is expected to receive Russian systems next year.
The S-400 Triumph (SA-21 Growler, in the NATO classification) are the new Russian generation of air defense systems. The system can carry three different types of missiles, capable of destroying a variety of air targets, from reconnaissance aircraft to ballistic missiles.
The S-400 system, the successor to the S-200 and S-300 missile systems, made its debut on the world stage in 2007. Compared with U.S. systems, the Russian-made S-400 is capable of engaging a wider array of targets, at longer ranges and against multiple threats simultaneously.