Ramping up defence ties, India and Russia today announced deals worth about Rs 43,000 crores for purchase of state-of-art Russian air defence systems, collaboration in making four stealth frigates and setting up facility for joint production of Kamov helicopters.
The decisions were taken during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin that covered a wide range of areas including defence.
Amid India’s growing defence ties with the US and the Europe, Modi asserted that Russia will remain India’s major defence and strategic partner.
The most critical deal signed today was the Inter Governmental Agreement for the purchase of S-400 long-range air defence missile system which has the capability to destroy incoming hostile aircraft, including stealth, besides missiles and drones at ranges of up to 400 km.
India is looking at buying at least 5 such systems, which will give the country a quantum jump in its capability against incoming missiles, including ballistic, besides drone or aircraft from both Pakistan and China.
India plans to deploy three such systems along the border with Pakistan and two along the border with China.
Sergei Chemezov, CEO of Rostech State Corporation, Russia umbrella organisation encompassing over 700 high-tech companies including all military firms, said that the contract negotiations for the air defence systems will start now and it is hoped that it will be formalised by mid next year.
Speaking to a select group of journalists, Chemezov said that if all goes well the system will start getting delivered to India in 2020.
“S-400 is a state of art system and most modern and advanced air system which is vital for a country that wants to secure itself,” he said.
Sources said that each system, having eight launchers, a control centre, radar and 16 missiles as reloads, would cost over $one billion each.
It is capable of firing three types of missiles, creating a layered defence, and simultaneously engaging 36 targets. It can hit targets at a speed of 17,000 km an hour. This is faster than any aircraft in the world.
India will be the second customer of the prized missile system after China which had struck a $3 billion contract last year.