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Russia and India sign S-400 air defense system deal

$5 billion agreement was concluded during Putin's visit to India

Russia and India finalized a deal for the supply of S-400 air defense systems to India, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw the signing of the deal during a trip to New Delhi on Friday, October 5, Tass reported Peskov as saying.

“The sides welcomed the conclusion of the contract for the supply of the S-400 long-range surface-to-air missile system to India,” Russia and India later said in a joint statement.

Last week, Putin’s top foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov said that the signing would be a “key feature” of the India visit. “The value of the contract will be more than $5 billion,” he added.

Ushakov said the contract is for five regiment sets of S-400 Triumf systems, Interfax reported.

Media reported in January that India was negotiating a deal with Russia for five S-400 systems, valuing the deal then at 39,000 crore rupees (390 billion rupees), which was around $6 billion at the time but is now around $5.3 billion. The Times of India reported that India wanted to sign the deal in the 2018-19 financial year and for delivery to begin within two years.

The contract is the largest in the history of Russia’s Rosoboronexport, Interfax reported on Friday.

India risks US sanctions

But the sale has irked the United States, which wants its defense partners to reduce the amount of Russian technology they purchase.

A senior U.S. Department of Defense official said in August that sanctions against India would come under consideration if its S-400 purchase goes through.

India has signaled it will ask for a special waiver from sanctions, though a U.S. official last month said there is no guarantee it would do so.

On Thursday, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that U.S. sanctions on Moscow have forced Russia to postpone the delivery of 11 Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets to Indonesia.

S-400 Trimuf

S-400 Triumf air defense missile launchers
Russian S-400 Triumf air defense missile launchers in Moscow’s Red Square during a Victory Day military parade, May 9, 2018. Image: Sergei Bobylev/Tass

Russia’s S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) long- and medium-range air defense missile system can use five different missile types to destroy aerial targets including planes and cruise and ballistic missiles at a range of 40 to 400 km (25 to 250 miles) at altitudes of up to 30 km.

The system was developed in the 1990s as an upgrade of the S-300 family, and was approved for service in Russia in 2007.

A typical S-400 system includes a combat control post, a jam-resistant phased array radar to detect aerial targets, and six to eight missile complexes. A regiment set includes a command post, radar stations, launchers, missiles, power-generating plant and auxiliary equipment, spare parts and accessories.

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