Force Magazine

Shield in the Air

Russian S-400 Triumf ADMS has the potential to take bilateral military-technical cooperation to a higher level

A FORCE Report

Since India has decided to purchase the Russian S-400 Triumf Air Defence Missile System (ADMS), Prime Minister Narendra Modi should take up this issue with President Vladimir Putin during the annual summit meeting next month. After all, S-400, which is being sought by China, has come to symbolise more than a potent weapon system. It could take the bilateral military-technical cooperation to a higher level.

Russian S-400

According to informed sources, Russia is willing to transfer a large number of critical technologies as per Indian requests. It is also agreeable to the idea of marrying India’s Akash ADMS with S-400, as well as establish a service centre to support S-400 in India. While Russia at this stage is unwilling to transfer the entire S-400 technology or sell it under the ‘Make in India’ policy with offsets obligation, much would depend upon the coming talks between the two heads of government.

S-400 is a new generation of long range ADMS which would be able to fire legacy missiles (48 N6E and 48 N6E2) of the S-300 PMU2 version from which it has evolved. In addition, it would fire four types of missiles, the short and middle range 9M96E with 40km range and 9M96E2 with 120km range, and the long range 48N6 with 250km range and the 40N6 with up to 400km range. The 40M6 will be able to intercept targets in space (exo-atmosphere), thereby reinforcing India’s indigenous ballistic missile defence system when it becomes operational. The S-400 targets could be intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBM) which travel at 4.8 km/second. Taken in totality, the S-400 missiles would be able to intercept IRBM, MRBM (medium range ballistic missiles), theatre, tactical and aero-ballistic missiles, and all types of aerodynamic targets operating up to 400km range.

This is not all. Work on the S-400 follow-on system, the S-500 ADMS Prometheus is being carried out at a frenetic pace. With expected capability to intercept targets at 600km, the S-500 would be a mobile air and defence complex meant to intercept intercontinental range ballistic missiles and hypersonic missiles travelling at 7km/second in space. Once India procures the S-400, it could well seek the futurist S-500 systems.

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