Source – Rajat Pandit/ TNN
India’s capability to detect and destroy hostile fighters, strategic bombers, missiles and drones at long ranges will get another major boost when a new squadron of the S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems becomes operational along the northern borders with China in the next two to three months.
Sources say deliveries of the second operational S-400 squadron through ships and aircraft are now underway from Russia, the first since the Russia-Ukraine war erupted on February 24.
The new S-400 deliveries come at a time when China has cranked up its air activity across eastern Ladakh, with Chinese fighters often flying close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in violation of the 10-km no-fly zone confidence building measure between the two sides.
The first S-400 squadron, which was delivered through thousands of containers last December, is already deployed in northwest India to cater for aerial threats from both Pakistan and China.
The IAF also got simulators and other equipment for a ‘S-400 training squadron’ in April-May this year. The second operational S-400 squadron, in turn, will be positioned for air defence specifically on the China front.
“Chinese fighter deployments and sorties have gone up along the 3,488-km LAC since mid-June, especially across Ladakh but also in other sectors like Arunachal Pradesh. There are often two-three Chinese fighter sorties near the LAC in a day,” a source said.