Deliveries of the five S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems by Russia worth US dollars 5.43 billion are expected to be completed by the end of 2023 or early 2024. But some issues related to delays in payments as well as insurance and reinsurance remain a major blockage in the delivery of these systems to the Indian Air Force (IAF). This would be a major focus during the meeting between Foreign minister S Jaishankar and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers in New Delhi.
The IAF has already received the delivery of the third S-400 missile defence system and now two more missile regiments need to be inducted into the force. The three regiments have been deployed along India’s northern, western and northeastern borders to counter the threat from Pakistan and China.
Resisting pressure from the United States of America, India signed the over USD 5 billion deal with Russia for five regiments of S-400 missile systems in October 2018. According to the deal, all the five regiments are to be delivered to India by the end of 2023 or early 2024 for use by the IAF.
The air defence missile system, which is considered to be the most advanced and potent in service around the world, can engage not only enemy fighter jets but unmanned aerial vehicles, and cruise and ballistic missiles as well. The missile system is capable of hitting targets at a range of 400 kilometres and can track enemy aerial assets at a distance of 600 kms.
Around 100 IAF personnel have undergone training in Russia on the S-400 system. IAF already uses the indigenous Aakash and MR-SAM missile defence systems, and also quick reaction surface-to-air Spyder missiles for air defence duties.
The S-400 missile air defence system, which is known as a battery, consists of a long-range radar, two battalions of the launcher, a command post vehicle and a target acquisition radar. Each regiment has eight launchers and each launcher has four tubes.The launchers, command posts and radars are mounted on multi wheel carriers and are capable of moving across different terrains, mountains and deserts.