The flagship defence deal negotiated in the guidance of erstwhile Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, is soon to be signed between the two countries- India and Russia.
A big breakthrough in bilateral relations-the purchase of $ 5.5 bn S-400 Triumf advanced air defence missile system from Russia through government to government route is expected to be sealed in the Indo-Russia summit later this week. The deal will be clinched in the presence of leaders of both countries.
Over the years of deliberations in the deal since 2015, it accelerated due to the alleged interference of Washington’s Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). However, incumbent defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman denied US’s intervention saying that “We made it clear that CAATSA was a US law and not a UN law. Negotiations for the (S-400) missiles have been on for several years.”
In 2018 July the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman had cleared the agreement to purchase five S-400 air defense missile systems from Russia with minor changes.
Based on the information in public domain, for the Indian Air Force which is dealing with an acute shortage of fighter planes, this missile is not only an absolute need but is also useful for its offensive defence strategy.
The S-400 is an integrated, highly-mobile system of radars and missiles of different ranges to address multiple threats. A single unit, consisting of eight launchers, 112 missiles and command and support vehicles.
“The system has four different missiles, from the 400-km range 40N6 which can knock out early warning aircraft, fighter jets and tactical ballistic missiles, to the 100-km range 9M96E which can neutralise manoeuvring targets like air-launched cruise missiles and smart bombs.”
This missile system is also critical to IAF’s India Integrated Command and Control System (IACCS) which is expected to provide a comprehensive picture of Indian airspace by linking all ground and airborne sensors and air defence assets into a single grid.
Besides plugging the major gaps in the IAF’s air defence, the system will give a composite air situation picture integrating all air force, navy, army and civilian radars.