By the end of this year, India is slated to get five S-400 squadrons

NEW DELHI: Indian deliveries of the third squadron of the S-400 Triumf missile systems from Russia are currently underway.

"Initial deliveries of the third operational squadron of the S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems from Russia have now begun after some delay," sources told the Indian newspaper.

Amid Western sanctions on Russia, India is grappling with alternate payment mechanisms for new deliveries of Russian weapons and their maintenance, "but it’s being managed," a source told the newspaper.

By the end of this year, India is slated to get five S-400 squadrons.

In 2015, India announced its intention to buy the Russian air defense systems. A $5.43 billion contract to deliver five S-400 squadrons was signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India in October 2018.

Russia’s S-400 ‘Triumf’ is the latest long-and medium-range surface-to-air missile system. It is designed to destroy strategic and tactical aircraft (including stealth jets) and can hit any other air targets in conditions of radio-electronic countermeasures and firing.

India has already put its first two missile system squadrons into service. The first two squadrons have been sent out to patrol the Ladakh sector, as well as West Bengal's delicate Chicken's Neck Corridor and the entire north-eastern region.

The system can engage enemy fighter jets, unmanned aerial vehicles, ballistic and cruise missiles, and cruise missiles with a range of up to 400 kilometres.

India and Russia have agreed to a three-year, more than ₹35,000 crore deal for India to buy five squadrons of S-400 air defence missiles, and all deliveries are anticipated to be completed by the end of the following fiscal year.

The Indian Air Force, which recently received the indigenous MR-SAM and Akash missile systems as well as the Israeli Spyder quick reactions surface to air missile systems, believes the S-400 will change the game. The Indian Air Force has significantly improved its air defence capabilities in recent years.

The S-400 missile systems have also participated in exercises, and according to sources, the adversaries have been alarmed by this because they are aware of the Indian system's superior capabilities to those of the Chinese system.

Presently, the S-400 air defence systems of China and India are each stationed along the Line of Actual Control.