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India to operationalize first S-400 SAM system

A Russian S-400 SAM during the Victory parade 2010. (Aleksey Toritsyn/Wikimedia Commons)
February 14, 2022

India is preparing to commission one of the most powerful air defense systems in the world when it takes delivery of its first S-400 Triumf from Russia. Amid long-term planning and the increasing threat from China, India is poised to make the first unit of S-400 Triumf advanced surface-to-air missile defense system operational by this April, according to Hindustan Times.

In October 2018, India and Russia signed a $5 billion deal for five regiments of S-400 systems. All five units of the system are scheduled to be delivered by 2023 according to media reports over the past week. These platforms will be deployed in selected strategic areas to ward off China’s threat and also contain the threat on the western frontier against looming Pakistan’s air threat, officials have said. All these five units will be diversified accordingly and will be operational by the end of 2023.

The advance consignments of two S-400 systems have already arrived in India from Russia, per the government’s request to accelerate the deliveries. The preparation to assemble the systems are underway by the scientists and engineering team who have been trained by Russia for this task.

As a series of indigenous system tests continuing India’s goal of consolidating homegrown air defense assets, the upcoming S-400 will boost anti-air capability significantly. The system will give India an edge in South Asia as it would be able to combat a wide array of enemy aircraft, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, and drones.

The S-400 missile defense system is equipped with four different missiles of various seeker configurations and hit ranges, which are designed to engage enemy aircraft, ballistic missiles, and AWACS planes at 400 km, 250 km, medium-range 120 km, and short-range 40 km, according to the target specifications.

First inducted in Russia, S-400 is designed and developed by the Russian-state-owned Almaz-Antey arms maker. The S-400 system is superior evolution of the combat-tested S-300PMU. It can take down a hostile aircraft or missile at a range between 40km and 400km, as well as establish an air denial zone for a specific location assuring maximum air track and shoot.