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The S-400 missile system to shield critical assets

The S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems, which India will be buying from Russia, will protect the ‘critical assets’ of the country.

This was informed by Lieutenant General A P Singh, commandant of the Army Air Defence (AAD) College, Gopalpur.

According to him, the surface-to-air platform is going to be the top-most line of the country’s air defence wing.

Speaking to this newspaper Lt Gen Singh said on Friday evening, “In the battle across air we always follow layers. It is not that the fire bullet will fire. Destroying targets in air is different from doing the same on ground. Suppose the target is flying at a speed of around 800-900 meters per second. You have to keep calculations. So we carry out air-defence in layers.”

He elaborated, “S-400 will be the furthest layer. If it misses the target, the next layer will be there. So we always work in two to three layers. Guns come in the last. When the layers will miss the targets then the guns will come into action. S-400 is a very expensive platform. So it will be installed around the critical assets — for example New Delhi and Kolkata — of the country. It will protect these. But the battle takes place at the borders. So guns are used there.”

Lt Gen Singh underlined, “However we will shoot down those aircrafts which will still keep maneuvering after dodging past others. Whenever the government decides, S-400 will take care of any number of critical assets. Take the example of 700-km-long Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan and the 3500 km-long LoC with China. So the battles which may take place there will be tackled by the army air defence guns.”

Asked if India going to have any specific regiment for S-400 platform like Russia, Lt Gen Singh explain, “Yes it will happen whoever it will be given. When a new system is inducted in the force, there are two procedures. A new regiment is raised as the old one becomes obsolete. Perhaps this is going to happen in this case too."

He was speaking after the AAD soldiers conducted a spectacular night firing exercise during which four Bofors L70 guns and three ZU23 guns shot down flying targets over the Bay of Bengal from the firing range on the sea-beach.

About the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM)’s induction he added, “MRSAM has been inducted in the Navy. Air Force and Army will also get it from Israel through a joint venure. The government cleared the contract last year. Our teams will be sent to Israel to understand the entire system because Israel’s battle is different from India’s battle. The DRDO director held a meeting with us during the day. A facility will be built on MRSAM here.”

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