The S-400 Triumf air defence system deal, inked by India and Russia on Friday notwithstanding the US pressure of sanctions, can engage up to 36 targets at a time and simultaneously launch 72 missiles.
The long and medium range air defense missile system, which Air Force Chief B S Dhanoa said will provide a much needed “booster” to the Air Force, is designed to destroy air attacks, including stealth aircraft and any other aerial targets.
“The sides welcomed the conclusion of the contract for the supply of the S-400 Long Range Surface to Air Missile System to India,” a joint statement released after the delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladmir Putin said.
The delivery of the missile systems, tipped to be over $5 billion, will start 24 months from the signing of the contract.
Acquiring the missile system will help repulse the air attacks by India’s adversaries, especially Pakistan and China.
The signing of the deal assumes significance as China, too, has signed a deal with Russia to procure the same missile system.
“This is the most lethal weapons system in the world and it provides four different types of layered air defence,” Air Vice Marshal (retd) Manmohan Bahadur told PTI.
However, the deal comes under the purview of Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which targets Russia, Iran, and North Korea.
India has conveyed to the US its necessity to procure this air defence missile system.
In 1999, the system was demonstrated for the first time at the Kapustin Yar practice range (the Astrakhan Region) to then defence minister Igor Sergeyev. The trials of the most advanced air defense missile system were carried out in the 2000s.
The missile system has been in service since April 2007.
The S-400 is based on the S-300PMU2 air defense missile complex.
The air defence missile system comprises a combat control post, a three-coordinate jam-resistant phased array radar to detect aerial targets, six-eight air defence missile complexes (with up to 12 transporter-launchers, and also a multi-functional four-coordinate illumination and detection radar), a technical support system, a missile transporting vehicles and a training simulator, experts said.
The S-400 system can also additionally include an all-altitude radar (detector) and movable towers for an antenna post, they said.
The target detection range of this system is up to 600 kilometres and its tactical ballistic missile destruction range varies from five kilometres to 60 kilometres.