India plans to acquire 5 Russian S-400 long-range air defence system for Indian Air Force from 2017 to 2022. while India is yet to place an order with Russia but Russian media report suggests that delivery can commence from 2018 onwards after fulfilling its own requirement. S-400 is a Mobile Theatre defence system capable of neutralising both Aerodynamic and ballistic threats.

S-400 with engagement envelope extending to 400 kilometres and the ability to engage all types of aerial threats while operating in electronic warfare (EW) environment make S400 formidable system . India’s interest in acquiring S-400 system was first reported in Indian press in October 2015 it is likely that Russians offered the system to India in end of 2013 or early 2014 .

S-400 as ColdStart Enabler

To ensure successful first strikes on Indian offensive formation a large number of nuclear-armed Nasr would have to be fired this could mean that a large number of Nasr launchers could have to be deployed that deployment could take time and are prone to early detection due to which Pakistan air Force might be used to launch such attacks.

If not tactical nuclear warheads Pakistan Air Force might be pressed into service to attack Indian formation with conventional weapons. S-400 which can engage all types of Aerodynamic targets like aircraft Cruise missiles including short-range ballistic missiles will give India strategic advantage that would raise nuclear threshold and diminish the nuclear threats to India.

Reducing first strike threats

S-400 system could be deployed to protect major cities of India against the first strike by the enemies. Deployment of S-400 system will also reduce the pressure on Indian leadership to Backtrack on its Doctrinal NFU commitment and Resort to a first strike if faced with complete deterrence erosion.

Aerial Defence Umbrella

S-400 system due to its open architecture modular will allow Indian Air Force to integrate other extremely capable Short range and Medium range Aerial defence systems like MR-SAM, Akash and QR-SAM under one Aerial Defence Umbrella.

Backup Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD)

India’s DRDO already has developed multilayered missile defence for long range and short range interceptions but No Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) are perfect and it is possible for an adversary missile to get through with BMD system on account of Technical Glitch or capacity overload. S-400 systems serve has India’s backup Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) since it can be used for interception of Ballistic Missiles also.

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