A group of 100 Indian Army personnel will be sent to Russia in the last week of January to begin training on how to operate the S-400 air defense systems.
“A second IAF team will follow suit after a few months. With the deliveries beginning this September-October, the first S-400 squadron should become operational in India by end-2021 or early-2022,” a defense ministry source was quoted as saying by Times of India on Sunday.
All five mobile squadrons of the S-400 ADS, under the $5.43 billion (INR 40,000 crore) contract inked with Moscow in October 2018, will be progressively delivered by April 2023.
The highly-automated S-400s, which can detect, track and destroy hostile strategic bombers, jets, spy planes, missiles and drones at a range of 380-km will be “suitably positioned in the western, northern and eastern sectors,” sources told TOI.
Dmitry Shugaev, Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, had said in March that India would receive the first regimental set by the end of 2021.
The U.S. has slapped sanctions under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) against Turkey for its S-400 buy. Although the U.S. has not directly threatened India or China for their purchase of S-400s, Christopher Ford, Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation, said last month, “We hope that other countries around the world will also take note that the United States will fully implement CAATSA Section 231 sanctions and that they should avoid further acquisitions of Russian equipment, especially those that could trigger sections (231 of CAATSA).”