Military Aviation

Turkey says Greek S-300 SAMs locked on to its F-16 fighter jets

The Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement that Greek air defense missile systems locked onto Turkish F-16 fighter jets flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean.

The Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement that Greek air defense missile systems locked onto Turkish F-16 fighter jets flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean.

According to the statement, on Aug. 23, 2022 as the Turkish planes flew over the Mediterranean Greece’s Russian-made S300 air defense system on the island of Crete locked onto them. Earlier in the week, Turkey made a similar accusation against the Greek military.

As Bloomberg reported in an article appeared on Yahoo, an official at the Greek Defense Ministry said that Turkey was trying to make “fake news,” and no such incident took place. The ministry has also disputed Turkey’s account of the previous incident, saying in an Aug. 23 statement that four of its F-16 fighter jets scrambled from Greece to intercept five Turkish jets that interfered with the route of a group of American B-52s that had permission to fly through Greek airspace.

The dispute comes as tensions between the two NATO countries are on the rise again. Turkey alleges that military forces on some Greek islands in the Aegean Sea exceed agreed-upon limits and there is also an ongoing dispute over Turkey’s natural gas exploration in the Mediterranean in waters that are also claimed by Cyprus and Greece.

Radar lock means that the radar system of a missile or fighter jet automatically follows a selected target, tracking its flight to be able to accurately strike. They are common in mock dogfights between countries that are not at war, where fighter jet pilots confront each other by targeting their rivals, but refrain from actually shooting.

As we have already reported in 2020 concerns were raised about the fact that Turkey may have used its S-400 Triumf air defense systems to detect US Air Force (USAF) F-16 fighter jets returning from a drill that was held in the August of that year in response to Turkey’s unwarranted aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Trump administration decided to kick Turkey out of the F-35 program in July 2019. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham then said, in a statement that the country’s involvement in the program had become “impossible.”

“Unfortunately, Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible. The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities. The United States has been actively working with Turkey to provide air defense solutions to meet its legitimate air defense needs, and this Administration has made multiple offers to move Turkey to the front of the line to receive the U.S. PATRIOT air defense system. Turkey has been a longstanding and trusted partner and NATO Ally for over 65 years, but accepting the S-400 undermines the commitments all NATO Allies made to each other to move away from Russian systems. This will have detrimental impacts on Turkish interoperability with the Alliance.”

However the statement continued by saying that “The United States still greatly values our strategic relationship with Turkey. As NATO Allies, our relationship is multi-layered, and not solely focused on the F-35. Our military-to-military relationship is strong, and we will continue to cooperate with Turkey extensively, mindful of constraints due to the presence of the S-400 system in Turkey.”

Photo credit: EllsworthSK Own work via Wikipedia and U.S. Air Force

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-16C Fighting Falcon 192nd FS / 192 Filo, 2005
Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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