Russian S-400 (File image: Reuters)
Russia will not only deliver the first regimental set of the S-400 Triumf air defence system to India in 2021 but is also ready to consider accelerating delivery of subsequent consignments.
A report in the Financial Express quotes Maria Vorobyova, the official representative of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) of Russia, as saying that there have been “detailed discussions with the Indian partners and the delivery of the first regiment is expected by the end of 2021.”
“The schedule of fulfilling the contract has been discussed in detail with the Indian partners, and the delivery of the first regimental batch is expected by the end of 2021. Further acceleration of the delivery of the first batch from the system is technically impossible, since there are objective, technology-related stages of production, acceptance and transfer of equipment,” Vorobyova added.
India and Russia had inked the $5.2 billion defence contract for the S-400 Triumf air defence system in October 2018. The original date for India to start receiving delivery was reported to be in the October 2020-April 2023 timeline. However, in the wake of border tensions with China earlier this year, New Delhi had urged Moscow to deliver units early.
The S-400 Triumf
It is considered one of the world’s most advanced air defence systems. It is developed by Russia's Almaz Central Design Bureau. Its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) reporting name is 'SA-21 Growler'.
The system is able to track flying objects over 600 kilometres. It can engage with these hostile targets and shoot them down using missiles in a range of up to 400 km. It can shoot down hostile aircraft, drones, ballistic missiles and hypersonic targets.
Every unit consists of multiple components: a long-range radar to track objects, a target acquisition radar, a command post vehicle and battalions of launchers. The system can carry multiple types of missiles catering to different strike ranges.
While specifications of the S-400 systems that are to be delivered to India are unclear, the regular variant used by Russia consists of at least eight launchers with 32 missiles.
The system can reportedly shoot down strategic bombers such as B-1 and B-2, airborne early warning and control system (AWACS), fighter jets such as the F-16 and strategic cruise missiles such as the Tomahawk. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has F-16s in its fleet.