Thursday, May 19, 2022

S-400 ‘Makes A Kill’ – Russia’s Missile Defense System Trends After ‘Downing’ Ukrainian Chopper & War Time Delivery To India

Russia has intensified its missile strikes against Ukraine after the latter recently destroyed the Russian Missile Cruiser ‘Moskva’ in the Black Sea and allegedly carried out a missile strike on Russian territory using Mi-8 helicopters.

Russia’s Defense Ministry has warned it will intensify airstrikes on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in retaliation to strikes on Russian soil.  On April 15, Moscow accused Ukraine of sending helicopters to attack a village in Russia’s Bryansk area, which is close to the Ukrainian border.

In what could be considered a retaliatory attack, local Russian media citing the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that its S-400 air defense system shot one of the two Mi-8 helicopters that were involved in the strike.

A statement from the Defense Ministry stated that the helicopter was shot down roughly 30 kilometers into Ukraine in the Chernihiv Region.

“In the Chernihiv region, the S-400 complex of the Russian Armed Forces shot down a Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter, which attacked a settlement in the Bryansk region. The helicopter was returning to the base after strikes on residential buildings in the village of Klimovo,” read the statement.

Intelligence agencies had earlier suggested that Russia was going to carry out an aggressive blow in the eastern part of Ukraine. However, after the Ukrainian attack on the Russian cruiser, the situation has become far worse than expected.

Russian troops attacked a missile facility outside Kyiv using a long-range missile. It also reportedly conducted strikes on an armored vehicle plant and a military repair facility. Russia apparently is seeking a complete seizure of the Donbas region in Eastern Ukraine.

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S-400 firing a missile (via Twitter)

The S-400 that was used to shoot down the hostile helicopter is a ‘star’ air defense system in the Russian inventory. The military is heavily reliant on the S-400 to defend the Russian airspace, and the system has been deployed in considerable numbers since its induction in 2007.

The system is praised for its great mobility and situational awareness, which includes a 600-kilometer detection range for aircraft, a 400-kilometer engagement range, and the potential to engage up to 80 aircraft at once.

While the S-400 made headlines in Russia, the missile defense systems were also trending on Indian social media for a different reason.

 S-400 Delivery For India

Amid the war raging across Ukraine, India has received a shipment of simulator and training equipment, as well as repaired aircraft engines and supplies, for the first squadron of S-400 aircraft.

However, reports have indicated that the delivery of the second squadron of the system has been slightly delayed owing to the conflict in Ukraine.

modi putin
File Image: Putin and Modi

While Russia has dispatched simulators and other equipment for the ‘training squad’ of the air defense system, the second ‘operational squadron’ deliveries will begin at least a month later than the original schedule of June, Times of India has reported.

The deliveries were made even as the United States is yet to decide on a waiver to be given to India under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

The highest echelons in the US government have voiced their concerns related to India’s refusal to directly condemn Russia. The discontentment among the American lawmakers is being seen as a precursor to a sanction on India.

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S-400 Air Defense System (via Twitter)

However, at the 2+2 meeting conducted in the US recently, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had said that “We have not made a determination of potential sanctions or waivers under CAATSA”. Acknowledging the relationship between India and Russia, he also remarked on the long history between the two countries in defense equipment trade.

India first stated its intention to purchase Russian S-400 systems in 2015 and during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India in October 2018, a $5.43 billion contract for the shipment of five S-400 regiment kits was signed.

India started to receive the delivery of the first squadron last year which has become virtually operation in the north-western part of the country.

India had earlier stated that it was deploying the S-400 in the Punjab region to combat threats from both China and Pakistan. Now, the Russian striking down of the Ukrainian helicopter would embolden India to position the rest of the systems to protect against regional threats from adversaries.

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