WASHINGTON Oct 24 U.S. weapons maker Raytheon
Co on Thursday said it was still ready to sell its
Patriot missile defense system to Turkey if that country changed
its mind about buying a rival system offered by a Chinese firm
that is under U.S. sanctions.
Raytheon Chief Executive William Swanson said Turkey chose
the Chinese system based on a lower procurement price, but it
would likely get a less capable system that would be difficult
to integrate with NATO's Patriot system, and could be more
expensive to operate in the long run.
"We will see what happens but if Turkey runs into problems,"
Swanson told analysts on an earnings call, noting that Turkey
was still negotiating the terms of its agreement with the
Chinese firm. "We remain positioned and stand ready to help them
with Patriot," he said.
The U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Francis Ricciardone, told
reporters on Thursday that the United States was concerned
Turkey's decision to build a missile defense system with a
Chinese firm could undermine allied air defenses, but dismissed
talk of a broader rift with Ankara.
Ricciardone said Washington had begun "expert" talks with
Turkey to assess the impact of its plans to co-produce the
long-range air and missile defense system with China Precision
Machinery Import and Export Corp, or CPMIEC.
CPMIEC is under U.S. sanctions for violations of the Iran,
North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act. Turkey has said it
is likely to sign the $3.4 billion deal with CPMIEC but that its
decision is not yet final.
Swanson said U.S. weapons systems used state-of-the-art
technology, which made them more reliable and cheaper to operate
in the longer term.
"(If) you don't take that into account you're going to be
really sorry with some stuff you bought," he told analysts.