Considered a ballistic missile shield, the S-400 is designed to protect key installations such as nuclear reactors, population centres and government installations and can intercept enemy missile more than 400 kilometres away. The cost of the acquisition and the number of S-400 systems India will acquire is not known at this stage.
In an interview to ITAR-TASS ahead of his departure tomorrow, Mr Parrikar has said he hopes to finalise the S-400 deal with Russia by the time Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Moscow in December.Mr Parrikar has also made it clear that India stands committed to investing and being a partner in the development of the stealth Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), a Sukhoi designed fighter presently being test flown in Russia. India has reportedly not been happy with the work share it was allotted in what was thought to be a joint-development project worth $30 billion. Speaking to ITAR-TASS, Mr Parrikar has said, "I have directed my officers to commence the negotiations as early as possible and close the first stage so that we can proceed further."
Though details have not yet been confirmed, India is also likely to sign a deal for the acquisition of a second Akula-2 class nuclear attack submarine from Russia and three Krivak class frigates which are in various stages of completion.
The Defence Minister's agenda for his Russia visit comes as the government's Defence Acquisition Council cleared defence projects worth more than Rs. 15,000 crores.
A few key items which were cleared include upgrading the Indian Air Force's two decade old Il-76 transport jets with new avionics and re-engining its fleet of six Il-78 air to air refuellers. This will cost Rs. 4300 crores.
The Indian Army will acquire two regiments of 'Made-in-India' Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers for Rs. 3300 crores. Each regiment will come with 18 Pinaka launchers and associated systems.
The Navy will acquire four 3500 ton multi-utility vessels which will be built in India. This is likely to cost Rs. 2800 crores. These are unarmed vessels to be used for non-combat roles.
The Indian Air Force will digitise its existing squadrons of Russian Pechora missiles in an ambitious Rs. 1800 crore project, tenders for which will be sent out to Indian firms. Old analogue systems in the three-decade old Pechora surface-to-air missiles will be replaced by more modern and reliable digitised processors, data-links and other systems.