NEW DELHI: India will begin inducting the first squadron of the advanced S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems from Russia from October 2020 onwards, with all the five squadrons slated for delivery by April 2023.
“The S-400 systems will provide a very capable air defence coverage to vulnerable areas/vulnerable points,” said junior defence minister Subhash Bhamre in Lok Sabha on Wednesday. India had inked the $5.43 billion (Rs 40,000 crore) contract for the S-400 systems with Russia on October 5 last year.
As for the looming threat of US financial sanctions over the S-400 deal under CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act), which seeks to prevent countries from buying Russian weapons or Iranian oil, Bhamre said the Indian government was “aware of all developments that may impact” procurement of weapon systems.
“The government takes sovereign decisions based on threat perceptions, operational and technical aspects to keep the armed forces in a state of readiness to meet the entire spectrum of security challenges,” he added.
With the S-400 systems, which can detect, track and destroy hostile strategic bombers, jets, spy planes, missiles and drones at a range of 380-km, India plans to boost its air defence coverage along the unresolved borders with China and Pakistan as well as around cities like New Delhi.
The highly automated and mobile S-400 systems, with their associated battle-management system of command posts and launchers, long-range acquisition and engagement radars, and all-terrain transporter-erector-launcher vehicles, have four different kinds of missiles with strike ranges from 120-km to 380-km, as
reported by TOI earlier
The US has imposed financial sanctions on China for its $3 billion deal inked with Russia in 2014 for six S-400 batteries, which the People’s Liberation Army began inducting in January 2018. India, however, is hopeful of getting a presidential waiver for its S-400 deal from the Trump administration.
If deployed near the border with Pakistan, a S-400 battery can shoot down a hostile F-16 fighter or cruise missile much before it even comes anywhere near the Indian airspace during hostilities. The air defence systems, which have huge area denial capabilities, can even intercept intermediate range ballistic missiles with a velocity of 4,800 meters per second.
TOI was the first to report in October 2015 that India had kicked off plans to acquire the S-400 missile systems, and that the Cabinet Committee on Security on September 26 last year had cleared the deal for inking ahead of the Modi-Putin summit on October 5.
The S-400 contract is among the largest-ever defence deals inked with Russia. The other big deals include the ones for 272 Sukhoi-30MKI fighters (over $12 billion) and INS Vikramaditya ($2.33 billion for the aircraft carrier and another $2 billion for 45 MiG-29Ks to operate from its deck).