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India, Russia to Finalize S-400 Missile Air Defense System Deal in 2017

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India, Russia to Finalize S-400 Missile Air Defense System Deal in 2017

India and Russia are expected to sign a contract by the end of 2017, according to a Russian official.

India, Russia to Finalize S-400 Missile Air Defense System Deal in 2017
Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Соколрус

Russia is expected to sign a contract with India for the procurement of four to five regiments of Russian-made S-400 Triumf advanced Air Defense Systems (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) by the end of 2017, according to senior Russian government official.

“Contractual negotiations are ongoing. That is why it is still premature to speak about the number of systems that will be delivered. We hope that the contract for the delivery of S-400 Triumf antiaircraft missile systems will be signed until the end of this year,” Deputy Director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation, Vladimir Drozhzhov, told TASS news agency on February 14.

As I reported previously (See: “India and Russia Ink S-400 Missile Air Defense System Deal”), both countries signed an inter-governmental agreement in Goa, India in October 2016 at the sidelines of the eight BRICS summit. The signing ceremony was attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. At the time, Russian officials expressed hopes that the contract will be finalized in the first quarter of 2017. Unsurprisingly, given India’s slow military procurement process, this date apparently now had to be pushed back.

The Indian Ministry of Defense’s Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) already approved the S-400 purchase in December 2015, which made India the second country after China to purchase the S-400, purportedly one of the most advanced missile air defense systems in the world.  The S-400 is capable of engaging a host of targets including ballistic and cruise missiles, bombers operating at high altitudes and stand-off jammer aircraft. It is, however, unclear what missiles the Russia will supply India with.

As I explained elsewhere (See: “A2/AD Threat: Russian Army Adds 2nd S-400 Regiment in 2016”):

In comparison to its predecessor, the S-300, the S-400 air defense system features an improved radar system and updated software; it can purportedly can fire four new types of surface-to-air (SAM) missiles in addition to the S-300’s 48N6E, a vertical tube launched, solid fuel, single stage SAM with an estimated range of 150 kilometers (93 miles), and the improved 48N6E2 missile with a reported range of 195 kilometers (121 miles).

One of the S-400’s new missiles is the so-called 40N6 SAM with an estimated operational range of 400 kilometers (248.5 miles) and an altitude of up to 185 kilometers (607,000 feet). The missile is reportedly capable of exo-atmospheric interception of intermediate-range ballistic missile warheads in their terminal phase. However, it is unclear whether the weapon is operational in Russia yet and no images of the 40N6 SAM have surfaced so far.

The S-400 is also armed with an improved variant of the 48N6E2 with an alleged range of 250 kilometers (160 miles). The air defense system can also fire two additional missiles, the 9M96E and 9M96E2 with respective ranges of 40 km (25 miles) and 120 km (75 miles). Improved S-300 air defense systems such as the S-300PMU-2 Favorite (sold to Iran), can purportedly also fire the 9M96E and 9M96E2. The S-400 can purportedly fire missiles at a rate 2.5 times faster than its predecessor, the S-300.

One S-400 regiment is usually divided into two battalions each of which capable of deploying 8-16 launchers and a total of 32-64 surface-to-air missiles.