The Russian military will deploy the S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems on combat duty in the Samara region by the end of this month.
This was announced by Major General Oleg Nikanorov, the commander of the air defense division of the 14th Army of the Air Force and Air Defense. According to Nikanorov, the anti-aircraft missile regiment adopted the system in November 2020 at Kapustin Yar training ground in the Astrakhan region, and the testing and training began in December.
“The S-400 Triumf crews conducted initial combat firing, during which they discovered the Kaban target missile imitating an operational-tactical missile, worked out the escort, and at an altitude of more than 15 kilometers the target was successfully destroyed,” he stated, adding that the new regimental kit has already arrived in the Samara region and will take up combat duty at the end of January.
Samara is the headquarters of the air defense division of Central Military District and covers the largest air border compared to all other air defense units of the Russian Armed Forces.
Apart from the S-400, the division is armed with S-300, Pantsir-S, Sky-M, and Sky-U radar systems, complemented by Kasta radars. In 1960, the unit was involved in the famous U-2 downing incident, when they destroyed a U-2 spy plane of the US Air Force flown by Captain Francis Powers, during the height of the Cold War.
The S-400 has been designated as one of the most advanced and most capable air defense systems around the world, and many countries have chosen it over its American offering, the Patriot missile system.
Interestingly, the system’s export customers include Turkey and India, with the former being a part of the NATO coalition and the latter being a close ally of the United States. The S-400 has been a successful tool in the Russian arsenal to impose its dominance over export sales, in a similar fashion as that of the F-35 project being ‘used’ by the United States.
Reacting to the Turkish S-400 purchase, Washington kicked it out of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, and threatened it with more sanctions. This was ignored by Ankara which, again placed an order for more units of S-400 from Moscow.
According to the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a nation procuring a major defense article from Russia faces major sanctions.
A similar reaction was made by the US when India opted for the Russian system but was only practically limited to warnings – considering the lucrative Indian market for weapons exports and its prime role as a counter to Chinese aggression in South Asia and the Indian Ocean.
Recently, a US congressional report has again warned New Delhi that its decision to proceed with the S-400 deal might prompt sanctions from Washington.