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India to get S-400 SAM Systems on time despite Covid-19

S-400 Triumf air defence system transporter erector launcher (Vitaly V. Kuzmin/WikiCommons)
August 31, 2020

Russia’s deliveries of S-400 surface-to-air missile launchers to India are proceeding as planned, Indian Ambassador to Russia Venkatesh Varma said last week, despite concerns of delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In comments reported by ANI, Varma said, “The S-400 will be on schedule. The coronavirus will not be affecting the delivery of the S-400.”

Varma also said that India hopes to sign a contract for the manufacturing of Russia’s Kamov Ka-226 helicopters next year. The defense industry cooperation will be one of the key areas of collaboration between India and Russia and it will be addressed at the upcoming India-Russia bilateral summit.

India’s partnership with Russia is filling a need for air defense systems. India has called for such defenses, given its shared borders with two nuclear-armed rivals — China to the East and Pakistan to the West.

India signed a $5.4 billion deal with Russia for the purchase of five S-400 systems (regiments) during the 19th India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit in New Delhi on October 5, 2018, after 2 years of negotiations. The S-400s will act as an air defense system for India’s major cities, protecting them from hostile aircraft and missiles.

S-400 Triumf NATO code-named SA-21 Growler is the successor of the Russian S-300 SAM system. The system was designed and built by Russia’s Almaz Central Design Bureau as an upgrade of the S-300 family and has been in service with the Russian Armed Forces since 2007.

The S-400 has the ability to detect and defend against threats in a 400 km radius.

India will start putting the Russian air defense systems into operational use, beginning in 2024.

India is currently using a variety of air defense systems, relying on resources from Israel and Russia. India has also made progress in developing its own indigenous air defense systems like the Akash surface-to-air missile system, which has been used by India’s Army and Air Force.

Last year India also tested the indigenous Anti-Satellite system which is capable of destroying enemy communication satellites.