Trump's Defense Chief Insists on Turkey Buying U.S. Missiles

(Bloomberg) -- Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is keeping up pressure on Turkey to drop plans to buy a Russian missile-defense system, stressing Washington’s desire to keep its NATO ally in the next-generation F-35 jet program.

Speaking at a House Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday, Shanahan said “we need Turkey to buy the Patriot,” referring to American efforts to convince Turkey to buy the U.S.-made missile-defense system instead of Russia’s S-400 amid fears that it could be used to collect intelligence on the F-35 jet’s stealth capabilities.

The U.S. has already earmarked a Patriot battery for Turkey and talks are underway even though President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has so far refused to cancel the purchase of S-400s, which are incompatible with NATO’s requirements. Erdogan is scheduled to meet President Vladimir Putin in Russia on April 8.

Shanahan was clear on whether the U.S. wants Turkey in the F-35 jet program. “We absolutely do,” he said.

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