India is likely to ink Rs 40,000 crore contract with Russia for five S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems before summit-level talks between President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October.
The air defence missile systems can detect and destroy hostile targets, including aircraft, missiles and drones at a range of more than 400 kms and flying at an altitude of more than 35 kms.
China has already started the process of induction of this Russian-built system. Beijing had signed a Government-to-Government deal for six S-400 missile systems in 2014. If the Indian contract comes through, the delivery of the systems will begin within 54 months from the date of signing, sources said here on Monday.
Price negotiations between India and Russia were in the final stages, said sources, adding the proposed deal had figured during Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s talks with her Russian counterpart during her visit to Moscow last month.
The two countries had signed an agreement in principle for the S-400 Triumf deal in 2016. Since then, negotiations were on between the official delegations of two defence ministries.
The S-400 is an upgraded version of the S-300 systems. The missile system is manufactured by Almaz-Antey and is in service in Russia since 2007. China was the first foreign country to opt for this advanced air defence system and signed a contract for six such systems worth over three billion dollars. Turkey has also shown interest in the Russian missile system.
The S-400 surface-to-air missile system comprises associated battle management system of command post and launchers, acquisition and engagement radars besides all terrain transporter-erector-launcher vehicles.
The Triumf system can fire three types of missiles and will enhance the air defence capabilities of India on the western border facing Pakistan and northern border with China.
The missile air defence system can also detect and destroy incoming medium range ballistic missiles. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had given the approval for procurement of this air defence system in 2015. Putin-Modi summit in Goa in October 2016 gave the nod for a Government-to-Government deal for it.
Equipped with long range radars to track 100 to 300 targets simultaneously, the S-400 has various kinds of supersonic and hypersonic missiles to intercept the hostile missiles or aircraft or drones at different ranges.
The proposed deal is likely to be inked amidst reports of a US law that seeks to punish Russia for its alleged meddling in the American presidential election in 2016.
Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which came into effect in January this year, mandates the Donald Trump administration to punish entities engaging in significant transaction with the defence or intelligence establishment of Russia.
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis last week appealed to the Congress to urgently provide India the national security waiver, saying imposing sanctions under CAATSA for the S-400 air defence missile deal would only hit the US.