LANGKAWI, Malaysia—China confirmed an agreement to sell the HQ-9 air defense missile system to Turkey on Tuesday, during the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition in Malaysia, China Daily reports.
A representative of China National Precision Machinery Import & Export Corporation said it was well-known that the Chinese FD-2000 system, an HQ-9 model for export, was chosen for the contract with Turkey in 2013.
The representative said in an interview with China Central Television that the FD-2000 is one of the most important products the corporation brought to the LIMA, Asia’s largest defense and security exhibition.
When Turkey chose the China National Precision Machinery Import & Export Corporation to co-produce a $4 billion long-range air and missile defense system in September 2013, China sold air defense weapons to a NATO member for the first time.
According to a report from CCTV’s website, the winning Chinese FD-2000 system beat the US Patriot, the Russian S-400 and the French-Italian Eurosam Samp-T.
Turkish analysts said their choice of a Chinese firm was for technological reasons as well as cost effectiveness. The contract enables Turkey to have its own long-range missile defense system for the first time, according to CCTV.
After Turkey announced the decision to award the contract to China on Sept 26, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said a few days later that he expected Turkey to choose a system that was compatible with those of other allies, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
The United States expressed serious concerns to Turkey, saying the Chinese missile defense system would not work with NATO systems and that it would expose confidential NATO system information to Chinese intelligence.
Turkey had also promised to make no decision on the arms deal prior to April 24, attempting to leverage the deal against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the United States and France. But Ankara’s purchase of the much cheaper Chinese system, now confirmed, was expected as the most likely outcome.