In view of the standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies, along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India had requested Russia to expedite the delivery of S-400 air defence system. Technically it was not possible.
Later this year, Russia is going to deliver the first regimental set of S-400 Triumf ‘SA-21 Growler’ air defence systems. Sources have confirmed to Financial Express Online, “Though specific month or date has been confirmed yet, the Russian side is going to deliver the first set later this year.”
Financial Express Online had reported earlier quoting Russian officials about the delivery of the first set, in later 2021. In view of the standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies, along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India had requested Russia to expedite the delivery of S-400 air defence system. Technically it was not possible.
Because technically there are different stages including the technology-related stages of production, acceptance and transfer of equipment.
What is India expected to get?
Both countries have inked a $ 5.43 billion contract. This contract is for the S-400 Triumf ‘SA-21Growler’, which is long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems. This system is for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and will help in further enhancing the air defence (AD). And India will get five Triumf regimental kits from Russia.
The delivery is expected to be staggered and is expected to be completed ahead of 2025.
These kits, according to sources in the IAF are expected to be deployed along the Mumbai-Baroda Industrial Corridor and also in the National Capital Region (NCR).
A team from the IAF is already in Moscow undergoing training for operating the system when it arrives.
This system has the capability to detect and destroy high and low targets, and also form an impenetrable grid of missiles. This system which has four different types of missiles with ranges between 40 km, 100 km, 200-km and 400 km can be can also be deployed in a very short time.
With 92N6E electronically-steered phased array radar, it is resistant to electronic jamming.
Mode of payment
During a press interaction in New Delhi, 2019, the Russian officials had made it clear that the mode of payment has been formalized. Though not many details were shared with the media, it was hinted that the payment will not be dependent of USD. It was also hinted that the payment could be in Rupee-Rouble currency. And this will be through India’s main bank to the state-owned Russian Sberbank.
China, according to the Russian News Agency TASS, last year received the second batch of S-400 Triumph (NATO code name SA-21 Growler) through the sea route transportation.
The Trump administration in 2017 introduced the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA, however, India’s consistent stand has been that the process had started much before CAATSA was imposed by the US. And has always maintained that it is not a UN law.
During a recent media interaction in New Delhi, external affairs minister S Jaishankar had said in response to a question that the S-400 will be discussed later this year when the defence ministers of both the countries will meet.
In a media interaction earlier this week, Russian ambassador Nikolay Kudashev said, “Both Russia and India are committed to adhering to timelines and other obligations under the S-400 missile deal.”
Responding to questions related to the possible US sanctions against New Delhi over the procurement of the weapons systems, the envoy termed the bilateral sanctions as “illegal tools’’ and “unfair unlawful”.
Sanctions have already been imposed on Turkey by the US under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for purchase of S-400 missile systems from Russia.
Since both India and China will have the same system what does it mean? Expert View
Milind Kulshreshtha, Strategic Analyst and C4I expert, says “The S-400 SAMs are mainly designed to destroy aerial threats, like aircrafts, UAVs as well as ballistic and cruise missiles. They are developed to give Point Defence and Area Defence anti-air capabilities with flexible ranges from 40km to 400Km (as per the model of S-400 in use) and targets flying at up to 30km altitude.
“Tactically seen, these SAMs not only provide the much needed replacement for the Air Defence SAM complexes which are already in service, but can also effectively target any military aircraft which might take off from Pakistan airbase (or flying within Pakistani airspace) from a SAM launcher within Indian side,” he explains to Financial Express Online.
Sino-India Border S-400 SAM Deployment
“While India and China are negotiating a complex disengagement process to pull back men and weapons from the eastern Ladakh sector, it has been reported that the air forces of both countries are still actively deployed. Though highly unlikely any time soon, but as and when the border dispute on the ill-defined 3,440km long border escalates, IAF shall be playing a crucial role in the offensive effort by India as the land has an inhospitable Himalayan terrain. But, in this region, IAF fighter jets too face the same threat as the defensive advantage India gains with its own S-400 SAMs. China too uses the similar set of S-400 SAMs on their side of the border,” observes the C4I expert.
The S-400 SAM complexes are truck deployable also and this mobility makes its detection for tracking (to shoot) difficult. According to him, “The creation of road infrastructure by BRO shall be effectively providing mobility to S-400 SAM mounted heavy trucks on the Indian side. Overall, S-400 SAMs shall provide India with an offensive and a defensive capability. But, knowledge of exploitation of S-400s shall additionally provide IAF with tactics to under pin enemy SAM complexes or to outsmart such incoming SAM missiles. Availability of S-400 SAM complexes can help IAF to enact the ‘cat and mouse’ game to devise suitable air tactics to gain air superiority over these SAMs.”