New Delhi: The Russians are selling the S-400 air defence missiles to both India and China but the five units being acquired by the Air Force would be more capable than what their northern counterparts are getting. This is because the Indian system would be capable of striking enemies’ aerial targets up to 380 km, whereas the Chinese system would be capable of engaging targets only up to a range of 250 km.
The S-400 missile defence system is equipped with four different missiles which can engage enemy aircraft, ballistic missiles, and AWACS planes at to 400 km, 250 km, the medium-range 120 km and the short-range 40 km.
“The Indian Air Force systems would be equipped with all four missiles whereas due to the fear of its technology being reverse-engineered .by the Chinese military engineers and technicians, the Russians are providing them a truncated system with only three-layers of missiles with strike ranges of 250 km, 120 km, and 40 km,” senior IAF sources told MyNation on the condition of anonymity.
India and Russia are signing the S-400 deal today whereas the Chinese signed it some time ago and would start receiving their units in a few months now.
The Russians have also given big discounts of up to Rs 7,000 crore in the deal to India as notwithstanding the pressure from the US, India decided to sign the deal with its time-tested ally which has supplied more than 60% of India’s requirements in the military domain since the last 70 years.
Sources in the Air Force said, “The negotiations have been completed with the Russian side and we have been able to get a discount of around $960 million in the negotiations with the Russian side”.
The Acceptance of Necessity (AON) — the budget approved by the Defence Ministry for the deal — was around $6.2 billion but the negotiations committee managed to keep the deal at around $5.3 billion, the sources said.
Generally, the final price of weapon systems always exceeds the amount approved by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC).
Like the 36 Rafale aircraft deal to get a better bargain, the Modi government had made the Indian Air Force deputy chief as the head of the contract negotiations committee.
The main reason behind getting the discount, sources said, was the American sanction CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) through which the US wants to ban the procurement of the S-400 missiles by other countries.
Sitharaman had also directed the acquisition wing of the defence ministry to go in for tough negotiations with vendors to get discounts on deals as every single rupee saved will help in the further modernisation of forces.