Russia expected to deliver two remaining S-400 systems by next year

The two remaining S-400 air defence systems under a $5.4-billion deal concluded by India will be delivered by Russia by 2025 following a delay in implementing the programme, people familiar with the matter said.

The S-400 system is designed to destroy strategic and tactical aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, and hypersonic weapons and can also be used against ground installations. (Representative Image)

Under the terms of the deal inked by India and Russia for five S-400 systems in October 2018, all deliveries were to have been completed within a five-year period. However, the deliveries were affected by the conflict in Ukraine and Western sanctions that affected the staggered payments for the weapon systems.

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“There is a new time frame for deliveries of the remaining S-400 systems now and things are back on track again,” one of the people cited above said on condition of anonymity.

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The two remaining S-400 systems are expected to arrive in India by the end of next year, the people said without giving more specific details.

India had gone ahead with the S-400 deal despite a warning from the US that the contract could trigger sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). While Turkiye was slapped with secondary sanctions for buying the S-400 under the same law, the US has not taken similar action against India – a move largely attributed to the growing security and strategic convergence between New Delhi and Washington.

The Russian side has so far delivered three S-400 systems to India. Deliveries of the first system began in December 2021 and this battery was deployed to cover parts of the border with China in the northern sector and the border with Pakistan, the people said.

The two other systems have also been deployed to protect strategic regions and assets.

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The S-400 is Russia’s latest long-and medium-range surface-to-air missile defence system that went into service in 2007. It is designed to destroy strategic and tactical aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, and hypersonic weapons and can also be used against ground installations. The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of up to 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km.

The people also said that Russia is expected to deliver two Talwar-class stealth frigates it is building for the Indian Navy by early next year. Under a $1-billion deal signed in 2016, Russia was initially expected to deliver the warships by mid-2022 but the project was delayed, first by the Covid-19 pandemic and then the war in Ukraine.

The first of the two ships, to be named Tushil, is expected to arrive in India by September and the second, to be named Tamal, is set to be delivered by January 2025, the people said.

Another two Talwar-class frigates are being built at Goa Shipyard Limited with Russian assistance in design and materials.

The people said both projects were hit by Russia’s focus on the conflict in Ukraine and Western sanctions, which shut Moscow out of the SWIFT system for payments. However, both sides had worked out more effective payment systems by late last year, allowing work to go ahead on the S-400 systems and the two frigates, the people said without giving details of these mechanisms.

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