India has inked a much-awaited S-400 Triumf long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system purchase from Russia. According to Russia Today, an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) regarding the S-400 was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow. Russia hopes to ink commercial contracts with India before mid-2017, which would enable the first S-400 systems to be delivered in 2020.
Under the IGA, the Indian Navy will also procure three Project 11356 frigates. Russia and India will also enter into a co-production partnership over the Kamov Ka-226T utility helicopter (TASS).
The S-400 Triumf is Russia’s marquee long-range SAM system and it is capable of engaging at a range of 120 to 400 km. Thus far, the S-400 has only been offered to China and India (and is on order from both).
Notes & Comments:
The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD)’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared the S-400 purchase in December 2015. At the time, the acquisition’s expected cost was set at $4.5 billion U.S. Alongside the also recently concluded purchase of 36 Dassault Rafale multi-role fighters from France, the S-400 will be one of India’s marquee acquisitions towards the end of this decade and the beginning of the 2020s.
However, even a stand-alone factor, the S-400’s introduction into South Asia is a genuine game-changer, one that will likely force Pakistan to adopt an asymmetrical defensive and offensive doctrine, especially in light of the S-400’s potential use to stifle Pakistan of accessing its own air space.