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Multi layered air defence: How S-400 fits into India's scheme of things


New Delhi, Nov 24: The peace at the border is to a large extent dependent on how well a country is prepared to retaliate attacks. It may seem like irony, but strategic assets like nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles, which can wreak havoc if used, are developed to serve as deterrents.

Representational Image

If the ability of a country to strike back is key in the current geopolitical situation, then the capability to defend against the incoming aerial attacks is equally important. The purchase of S-400 air defence systems from Russia would not only help India to thwart incoming aerial threats like cruise missiles, UAVs, helicopters etc, but it will allow India to combine it with existing defence mechanism and come up with a multi-layered air defence system.

India is already working on two-tier Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Program and has Aakash Missiles to take on aerial attacks. The S-400 Triumph missile defense system is a significant strategic upgrade in India's military hardware. In fact India badly needed such a system given the hostile surroundings and growing capabilities of China and Pakistan.

[10 things to know about S-400 missiles that India will purchase from Russia]

Defence and strategic matters expert Major General PK Sehgal told OneIndia that India's air defence capabilities badly needed an upgrade. He said S-400 deal was the need of the hour given the growing threats from China and Pakistan.

"Given its (S-400 Triumf) powerful radars which can pick up any movement in the air upto a distance of 600 kms. Any aircraft taking off from its (Pakistan's) airfields can be picked up by us and we can knock it down before it comes anywhere near the border. This is one system which can track more than 300 aerial objects concurrently and can destroy upto 30 of them. It can prioritise which is more threatening and take appropriate action. It also gives you the capability of overlapping air defence systems," he said.

[Akash, PAD, AAD and now S-400 triumf air defence missile system]

"We did not have anything (in terms of air defence) between 400 kms and 25 kms. This is a system which can take on the enemy from 30 kms to 400m kms. Then you are also buying Israeli Barack 8 systems which has a range of 70 kms extendable upto 100 kms. So, you will have a layered air defence to take take on threats from China and Pakistan," said Major General PK Sehgal.

The system if deployed along Pakistan border will provide India an edge of 600kms radar coverage with option of shooting down incoming aircraft from 400kms from its territory. The system has a multi-function radar, autonomous detection and targeting systems, anti-aircraft missile systems, launchers besides a command and control centre.

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