BRUSSELS, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Patriot missile batteries being sent to Turkey are expected to reach initial operating capability this weekend and full capability by the end of this month, a senior NATO official said on Wednesday.
"We expect to have initial operating capability this weekend. That is what we are aiming at...The first units will arrive on station, they will plug in to the NATO command and control network and they will be then ready to defend the population," said Brigadier General Gary Deakin, director of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe's strategic operations center.
"We expect to deliver full capability at the end of this month. We will have all Patriots in... Currently, all that is on track," he said during a press briefing at the NATO headquarters.
NATO decided to deploy advanced Patriot missiles to Turkey's southern border in December to counter potential attack from neighboring Syria.
The United States, Germany and the Netherlands are sending a total of six Patriot batteries and about 1,200 troops to Turkey.
Once all batteries are in place, NATO will be able to provide protection against missiles for up to 3.5 million people in Turkey, Deakin said.