Russia had started to deliver S-400 Air Defense System to India.
S-400 deal was signed in 2018 during President Putin’s visit in India. After purchase it will be deployed in the Western part of India near Pakistan border. It is one of the most advance air defense system and it can easily counter and destroy each and every aircraft of Pakistani Air Force. It has a strike range of 400 Km and its radar range is 600 Km. It can target ballistic missiles, drones (Unmanned Arial Vehicles) and aircrafts. Lethal S-400 is designed to knock down flying targets with stealth capabilities. The S-400 is equipped with four different types of missiles with ranges of 400 km, 250 km, 120 km and 40 km. The Long-Range radar can track more than 100 flying objects. It is equipped with target systems, multifunctional radars, autonomous detection, anti-aircraft missile system and launchers. It can track airborne threats, prioritizes those threats and can coordinate with batteries and cannons. It can detect and destroy targets from 100 feet to 40,000 feet in air.
This system was developed in 1990 by Russia’s Almaz Central Design Bureau. It is in service with Russian Armed Forces from 2007. China was the first country to buy S-400 in 2014.
Why America is Unhappy with the deal?
India had signed 5 billion rupees deal with Russia in 2018, to buy five units of S-400 missile defense system. At that time Trump administration had warned that if India goes ahead with this deal then it can invite American CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) sanction. Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA is a US law that authorizes the government to impose sanctions on countries that purchase defense equipment or hardware from Russia. If USA thinks than it can impose sanctions on India also.
But previously, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that India meets all the criteria for a waiver from CAATSA Act.
India is also acquiring Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile or MRSAM from Israel next year. It will increase its engagement range to nearly 80 kilometers in air.
The second major reason to buy S-400 is decreasing number of fighter jets in Indian Air Force. IAF presently have 32 squadrons of jets. But to secure the Indian airspace from enemy it needs minimum 42 squadrons. The old Mig-21 fighters are already outdated and it needs immediate replacement with other advanced jets. This will affect Indian Air Force by 2027 when over 100 MiG-series fighter jets will be phased out. It will leave the Indian Air Force with just 19 fighter squadrons. Only 36 Rafale fighter cannot fulfill the requirement. China and Pakistan on other hand have jets with advance cutting-edge technology. For this reason, S-400 is a supplement which can support air force by targeting and monitoring enemy activities.
Delivery of all the S-400 system will be completed by 2024. But still India have to work aggressively and fulfill the gap caused for retirement of jets from Indian air force.