(Reuters/Tatyana Makeyeva)

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Russia began delivery of an advanced missile defense system to Turkey on Friday, a move expected to trigger U.S. sanctions against a NATO ally and drive a wedge into the heart of the Western military alliance.

The first parts of the S-400 air defense system were flown to a military air base near the capital Ankara, the Turkish Defense Ministry said, sealing Turkey's deal with Russia which Washington had struggled for months to prevent.

The United States says the Russian military hardware is not compatible with NATO systems and that the acquisition may lead to Ankara's expulsion from an F-35 fighter jet program.

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Turkey Welcomes The F-35

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is seriously considering suspending training for Turkish pilots on advanced F-35 fighter jets as Ankara moves ahead with plans to purchase a Russian missile defense system despite objections from Washington, sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

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A day after the U.S. government suspended its delivery of F-35 to Turkey, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan sounded confident that Turkey will get the planes after all.

"I expect them to be delivered," Shanahan said on Tuesday at a media availability.

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Russian S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile systems in the Victory Day parade for the 71st anniversary of the victory over Germany in World War II, in Moscow's Red Square, May 9, 2016. (Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters)

China became the first foreign buyer of Russia's S-400 in 2014, but the delivery of the air-defense system, considered one of the most advanced the world, was marred when a ship carrying it encountered a storm in early 2018.

According to the CEO of Russian defense firm Rostec, the components damaged were more important than first known.

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