Sources – Armyrecognition

Moscow: The Indian Air Force plans to receive the last two of five S-400 long-range air defence systems by the end of 2024, according to Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari. The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has created delivery hurdles, but the Indian Air Force maintains its expectations for future deliveries. The acquisition of the S-400s is part of a broader strategy, Project Kusha, which aims to reduce India’s dependence on external suppliers for its military needs.

The first two squadrons of S-400 missiles, designated SA-21 Growler in NATO terminology, arrived in December 2021 and April 2022 respectively. These deployments were strategically placed to ensure border security and enhance the capabilities of defence against neighbouring nations. According to ANI reports, the first two squadrons have been specifically tasked with monitoring the Ladakh sector, which covers the critical ‘Chicken Neck’ corridor in West Bengal and the entire north-eastern region.

The agreement between India and Russia regarding the S-400 system has attracted considerable attention due to its possible impact on India’s relations with the United States. The United States has expressed concerns about possible sanctions, citing concerns about India’s defence collaboration with Russia and the potential dual-use nature of Russian technology. Nonetheless, India has firmly stated that its national security priorities underscore the importance of the S-400 deal. The country has consistently maintained its position of strategic autonomy and the right to diversify its defence acquisitions.

The S-400 is a sophisticated air defence system, known for its ability to neutralize aerial threats such as aircraft, missiles, and drones, at ranges of up to 400 km. The system has the capability to track and engage multiple targets simultaneously, further enhancing India’s defence capabilities.

India’s Ministry of Defence ordered the S-400 systems in October 2018 in a $5.43 billion contract. Russia accelerated delivery following additional requests from Delhi. This acceleration comes after significant investments by Russia in its defence industry during the 2010s. These investments allowed Russia to increase its production, which also facilitated exports to other countries, notably Belarus and India.

Two 51P6A launchers, components of the S-400 system, were recently spotted, indicating that these systems are in their final stages of production. After inspections and tests, they will be ready for delivery to India. Despite geopolitical tensions and sanctions, Russia appears ready to fulfil its contractual obligations to India.

The first three squadrons have already been deployed in the northern and eastern sectors and have participated in aerial exercises, according to reports. These squadrons were received along with simulators.

In addition to acquiring S-400 systems from Russia, India is also in the advanced stages of developing its own air defence system similar to the S-400 class. The project, valued at over Rs 20,000 crore, is expected to be completed in the coming years, as per defence sources cited by India Today. The indigenous air defence system is planned to feature three different types of missiles, each designed to neutralize enemy targets at varying distances, with the maximum range being close to 400 kilometers. We unfortunately do not have any additional details on this subject yet.