Russia has commenced delivery of the second batch of Russian-made S-400 Triumf long-range, interceptor-based air defense systems (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) destined for service in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Rocket Force (PLARF), according to a Russian government source.
“A transport vessel with the first batch of hardware from the second S-400 regiment set for China has taken to the sea from the port of Ust-Luga on the Baltic coast,” the source was quoted as saying by TASS news agency on July 24. “Therefore, like in the case with Turkey, the deliveries of the systems have started several months ahead of the term stipulated in the contract.”
The source added that a total of three transport ships will be dispatched in very short intervals to delivery the entire second S-400 regimental set to the PLARF.
Delivery of the first S-400 regimental set was completed in May 2018. As I reported elsewhere, Russia sent dozens of replacement missiles for the S-400 to China earlier this year, as one Russian cargo ship, reportedly carrying an export variant of the S-400’s most advanced interceptor, the 40N6E, was forced to return home as a result of damages sustained during a storm in the English Channel.
Notably, while the 40N6E missile was reportedly cleared for serial production last in the summer of 2018, it is unclear whether production of the missile has begun. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) first released details of the 40N6E during the 2018 Army Forum in August 2018.
The delivery schedule for the second S-400 regiment was first revealed this April by an unnamed government source, as I reported at the time. To date, the Russian MoD has not confirmed the delivery date. The PLARF aims to stand up two S-400 regiments with an estimated procurement cost of about $3 billion. As I noted before:
The standard S-400 battery consists of four transporter erector launchers (TELs) with four large launch tubes or 16 smaller tubes (or a combination of the two) per TEL, in addition to long-range surveillance radar target acquisition and engagement (fire control) radar systems and a command post (vehicle). In the Russian military, two batteries make up an S-400 battalion (also known as an S-400 division), whereas an S-400 regiment consists of two battalions.
Each TEL can carry four long-range or up to 16 short- and medium-range missiles. An S-400 regiment also possesses additional surveillance and target acquisition radars, with the unit generally plugged in to larger long-range radar stations or airborne early warning systems. It is, however, unclear whether Russia has developed such a so-called Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC).
PLARF personnel have been undergoing training on the S-400 air defense system throughout 2018 and 2019.
In September 2018, the U.S. State Department and Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on the People’s Liberation Army’s Equipment Development Department for procuring the S-400 and Sukhoi Su-35S (NATO reporting name: Flanker-E) fourth generation, twin-engine, multirole fighter aircraft from Russia.