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S-400 Triumf Missiles System


The Indian Air Force (IAF) has taken steps to bolster its defence capabilities by deploying three S-400 Triumf air defence missile squadrons along its borders with China and Pakistan. India had entered into a contract with Russia in 2018-19 for the acquisition of five S-400 missile squadrons, with three already in place and two delayed due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In addition to this development, the Indian Defence Acquisition Council has recently granted approval for the procurement of the Indian Long Range Surface Air Missile (LRSAM) system under Project Kusha.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. S-400 Triumf Missile System
  2. Significance of S-400 for India
  3. Project Kusha: India’s Long-Range Air Defence Initiative

S-400 Triumf Missile System

The S-400 Triumf missile system, developed by Russia, is a formidable surface-to-air missile (SAM) system with the following key features:

  • Target Range and Altitude: The S-400 boasts a range of up to 400 km and can engage targets at altitudes of up to 30 km.
  • Multi-Target Capability: It has the remarkable ability to simultaneously engage up to 36 targets, including a variety of aerial threats like aircraft, drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles.
  • Versatile Missiles: The system utilizes four distinct types of missiles, enhancing its adaptability and effectiveness.
  • Global Significance: The S-400 is recognized as the most advanced and operationally deployed modern long-range SAM (MLR SAM) globally, surpassing systems like the US-developed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).

Significance of S-400 for India

Enhanced Air Defence:

  • India’s decision to procure the S-400 missiles is geared towards augmenting its air defence capabilities, providing a stronger deterrence posture against China and Pakistan.
  • Both these nations have been actively modernizing and expanding their air forces and missile arsenals.

Two-Front Security Concerns:

  • India faces a dual threat from China and Pakistan, both of which have been involved in various border disputes and conflicts with India over the years.

Countering China’s Influence:

  • India views the acquisition of the S-400 system as essential to counter China’s growing presence and influence in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • China has been actively establishing ports, bases, and infrastructure projects in the region.

Strategic Autonomy and Diversification:

  • India’s move to procure the S-400 system aligns with its objective to maintain strategic autonomy and diversify its defense partnerships.
  • This strategy is in response to the unpredictability and volatility within the global order.

Project Kusha: India’s Long-Range Air Defence Initiative

  • Project Kusha is a significant defense initiative led by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India.
  • Its primary goal is to develop a robust long-range air defense system, with the target of achieving this capability by the year 2028-29.
Key Objectives:
  • The long-range air defense system being developed under Project Kusha aims to detect and neutralize a variety of enemy threats, including projectiles, armor, cruise missiles, stealth fighter jets, and drones, particularly at extended ranges.
Components of the System:
  • The system will comprise three distinct types of interceptor missiles, each designed with different ranges: 150 km, 250 km, and 350 km.
  • It will also feature advanced long-range surveillance and fire control radars.
Rivaling Global Systems:
  • Project Kusha aspires to match the effectiveness of internationally renowned air defense systems, including Russia’s S-400 system and Israel’s Iron Dome system.


  • The development of a long-range air defense system is of strategic importance for India’s defense capabilities and national security.
  •  It aims to enhance the country’s defense posture and provide effective protection against a wide range of potential threats.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023