India to get S-500 missile system from Russia? Here’s what we know

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As reported in Financial Express Online earlier, the long-awaited S-400 has started arriving in India, for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Even as India prepares to deploy the first regiment of the S-400 air defense system, Russia has already indicated that the new version of the S-500 “Prometei” anti-aircraft missile system is ready to be offered to India. According to media quoting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov, India could be the first buyer of the S-500 air defense system. The Russian Deputy Prime Minister’s comments come at a time when India has already started receiving the S-400 “Triumf” from that country and the United States has expressed concern about the system.

As reported in Financial Express Online earlier, the long-awaited S-400 has started arriving in India, for the Indian Air Force (IAF). This will be followed by a team of Russian specialists who will arrive in India next month (January 2022) to transfer the equipment to the sites and help the Indian team who have been trained in Moscow to start the exploitation process. Deliveries of the various parts of the system began in November of this year.

And the S-500?

A senior officer who wished to remain anonymous told Financial Express Online: “It is too early to discuss this as the first regiment of S-400s are being delivered to India. Delivery will be completed by 2023. Only then will a decision be made.“

When was the contract for the S-400 signed?

It was signed in 2018 when Russian President Vladimir was in India for the annual Indo-Russia summit.

Payment method

And, the first installment of payment for the S-400 air defense system was made by India in 2019, equivalent to $800 million. Indeed in 2019, the two countries had agreed that the method of payment would be in Indian rupees. In a media interaction at the time, embassy officials in New Delhi explained that India’s leading bank would transfer payment in rupees to Russia’s state-owned Sberbank. And then the branch of the Russian bank will transfer the money to its headquarters based in Moscow in rubles.

S-400 versus S-500

Based on information available in the public domain, the air defense system that India is now receiving has an operational range of 400 km and the new S-500 version has the capability to target ballistic missiles at a distance of approximately 600km.

Reports in the public domain indicate that the S-500 has the ability to target hypersonic missiles, giving it an advantage over the S-400. The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is working on hypersonic missiles and by 2024 they will be ready. The S-500 also has the ability to target American fighters, including B-2, F-35 and F-22 stealth aircraft.

S-400 compared to American systems?

What India is getting is considered the best in the world – the S-400 air defense system. The system India is receiving has the capability to target fighter jets, drone attacks, rockets and missiles. India has placed an order for five regiments – this means that each regiment has eight launchers, which have four missiles and combined – if necessary, this system can fire 32 missiles at once.

According to reports, by 2024 the Russian military is preparing to replace the S-400 which has been operational since 2007 with the S-500.

Deployment of the S-400 in India

As previously reported by Financial Express Online, the system India is getting will be rolled out in the northern part of the country. Why? Because from this place any type of air attack from Pakistan or China can be prevented.

The second S-400 regiment is expected to reach mid-summer 2022 and is expected to be deployed to the region to protect Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, as well as along the Mumbai-Baroda industrial corridor.

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