Moscow: India is set to pay the first installment for the $5.2 billion S-400 Triumf air defence system to Russia “soon” as both New Delhi and Moscow have agreed on a new payment method to beat the US’s CAATSA threat.
Under the contract signed between India and Russia last year, the delivery of the first system of the S-400 would be done within two years of the payment of the first installment. Following this, the rest of the four systems will be supplied over a period of four years.
“Under big contracts we have signed with India last year, we have agreed on method and terms of payment that are mutually acceptable to each other. We hope that this will apply to future contracts. On such big contracts like the S-400, we have found a permanent solution with Indian side,” Vladimir Drozhzhov, Deputy Director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), told a select group of journalists in Moscow.
FSMTC governs all Russian defence engagements across the world.
Drozhzhov refused to reveal the exact payment details that have been worked out with India, but said the advance payment would be “coming soon”.
First installment is 10% of actual contract value
Both India and Russia had earlier discussed to make the payments in local currency for the procurement of the S-400 systems.
Top sources in the defence establishment told ThePrint that the first installment is 10 per cent of the actual contract value.
India had decided to go ahead with the deal for the game-changing S-400 air defence system despite US pressure to back out.
India is aware that the US may not grant it the waiver from CAATSA (Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) which the Donald Trump administration is determined to impose on countries that have defence interests with Russia.
Capabilities of S-400
The S-400 Triumf is the most modern air defence system in the Russian arsenal. It is capable of destroying incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones within a range of up to 400 km. It has a tracking capability of nearly 600 km.
The system has been designed to knock down flying targets, including those equipped with stealth technologies, at a distance of about 400 km. It is also capable of taking out ballistic missiles and hypersonic targets. Compared to its predecessor — the S-300 — the S-400 has a firing rate that is 2.5 times faster.
Each S-400 battery comprises long-range radar, a command post vehicle, target acquisition radar and two battalions of launchers (each battalion has eight). Each launcher has four tubes.
The S-400 can be armed with four different types of missiles with ranges of 400 km, 250 km, 120 km and 40 km. The Long Range (LR) radar can track more than 100 flying objects simultaneously while being able to engage a dozen targets.
Each component of the system — the radars, the command post vehicles and the launchers — is mounted on multi-axle, multi-wheel Ural carriers that can move on uneven terrains. This mobility makes the batteries difficult to detect because they can keep changing locations, besides expanding the missile engagement zone (MEZ).
China was the first country to seal a government-to-government deal with Russia in 2014 to procure the lethal missile system. Moscow has already started delivering an undisclosed number of S-400s to Beijing.
India wants the long-range missile system to tighten its air defence mechanism, particularly along the nearly 4,000-km-long Sino-India border.
This reporter is visiting Russia as a guest of United Shipbuilding Corporation.