Despite Covid, 100+ IAF personnel are in Russia on S-400 missile training as delivery nears

By The Print

Over 100 personnel of the Indian Air Force (IAF) are being trained on the S-400 Triumf Air Defence System in Russia, as both countries eye delivery of the system by the end of this year, ThePrint has learnt.

The S-400 system meant for India is already under production in Russia and is undergoing various trials, sources in the defence and security establishment said. The trials include high dust and extreme weather withstanding capabilities to suit the Indian demands of operating in the plains, deserts and mountainous terrain.

Sources said the team of over 100 personnel had reached Russia earlier this year and are being trained by a joint team from the Russian military and Almaz Antey, the manufacturers of the system that will become the mainstay of India’s air defence.

Despite US threats of sanction, India had in 2018 ordered five of the S-400 systems.

In March this year, visiting US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin had raised the issue of India’s planned procurement of the S-400 and stressed that allies and partners should avoid “any kind of acquisitions that will trigger sanctions”.

The Modi government had, however, firmly explained that the country’s armed forces have a diversified portfolio.

The S-400 capabilities
The S-400 is capable of destroying incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones from a minimum range of 2 km to upto 400 km. It also has a tracking capability of nearly 600 km.

While the delivery of the system was to start in 2020, the payment could only be done in 2019 as US sanctions against Russia made it difficult.

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