Russia has indicated that India may sign a deal for the acquisition of five S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit. It comes as no surprise therefore that defence experts are enthused about the deal and the implied boost for India’s defence preparedness. The S-400 Russian systems are widely known to be one of the most modern defence systems in the world, that even render the US F-35 fighter jets ‘useless’! Yes, you read it right! If the multi-billion dollar deal comes through, then the Russia would be giving India such a powerful deterrent that has already rattled the NATO countries.
So, what’s special about the S-400 Triumf, that even the US is wary of it? As said above, Russian experts proclaim that the S-400 system can shoot down fifth-generation fighter jets, like America’s most advanced F-35s! The system has 8 launchers, a control centre, a powerful radar and 16 missiles that are available for reload. The system is capable of firing three types of missiles, hence creating a layered defence for any country that owns it.
The S-400 system, which is referred to as the ‘Growler’ by NATO countries, is capable of tracking 300 targets and can shoot down around three dozen of them within a range of up to 400 kms! The tracking range of S-400 actually goes up to 600 kms! According to a blog by Rakesh Krishnan Simha in “Russia & India Report”, the S-400 can hit targets at a whopping speed of 17,000 km an hour. This is faster than any aircraft in the world! Simha goes on to call the S-400 the “daddy” of Iron Domes. America has developed the F-35 fighter jet as a ‘missile killer’. Lockheed Martin has reportedly claimed that the F-35 can ‘jam’ anything that is directed at it. But, with its speed, the S-400 would not be an easy system to shake off for America.
The S-400 is actually an upgraded version of the S-300, had previously only been available to the Russian defence forces. It is said to have 2.5 times faster firing rate than its predecessor. It is manufactured by Almaz-Antey and has been in service in Russia since 2007. The S-400 has also been deployed by Russia to Syria.
Needless to say that with such a big range and speed, the S-400 Triumf would be a very formidable deterrent against any incoming threats from Pakistan. India will get the system for a price of nearly Rs 40,000 crore. According to a TOI report, India plans to deploy three S-400 systems in the west (read Pakistan) and two in the east (read China). The S-400 would help check short and medium range ballistic missile threats. Once India signs the deal, it will become the second purchaser of this system after China, which had struck a deal with Russia for S-400 last year. China will start getting the defence system from 2017 onwards.