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Why ​Delivery of Two S-400 System Sets from russia to India was Postponed to 2026

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Illustrative photo: a russian S-400 surface to air missile system launcher is being rolled out of the assembly workshop / Open-source illustrative photo
Illustrative photo: a russian S-400 surface to air missile system launcher is being rolled out of the assembly workshop / Open-source illustrative photo

There are two equally possible explanations for this: russians either have serious problems with the defense industry or are preparing for a covert transfer

Delivery of two regiment-level sets of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems from russia to India, supposed to take place by the end of 2023, is now postponed until 2026. The reason for the delay is the problems of the russian military industry mounting due to the full-scale war against Ukraine and trade sanctions imposed by Western countries. Currently, the Indian armed forces already have three regimental sets of S-400 deployed on the border with Pakistan and China.

Meanwhile, India continues to work on its own anti-aircraft missile system similar to the S-400, but the specifics of this project are kept in secrecy, Army Recognition notes.

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A russian S-400 air defense system on its prepared site / Defense Express / Why Delivery of Two S-400 System Sets from russia to India was Postponed to 2026
A russian S-400 air defense system on its prepared site / Open-source illustrative photo

Defense Express suggests there may be two equally likely reasons for a three-year delay in the delivery of russian S-400s to India. The first option is that the S-400 production chain depends not only on Western technologies but on supplies from China as well.

If we go into detail, for example, software from the American Extreme Networks was used at the Moscow machine-building plant Avangard JSC, where 48N6 anti-aircraft missiles of the S-400 family are produced.

Whereas from China, russian Almaz-Antey concern received components for the production of the 96L6E radar from the S-400 air defense system. All these technological nuances could well have compounded and led to the fact that India did not receive all the promised complexes by 2023, as stipulated in the contract signed in 2018.

S-400 system / Defense Express / Why Delivery of Two S-400 System Sets from russia to India was Postponed to 2026
S-400 system / Open-source illustrative photo

The other possible reason is that India might be trying to hide its intent to continue purchasing the S-400 from russia so as to not lose political favor due to business with russia, objectively a pariah on the global arms market — not only due to the war of aggression it started but also because the declared specifications of russian weapons are often not confirmed in practice.

Moreover, as earlier reported, India is planning to finish the development of its domestic S-400 analog by 2028–2029, and meeting this ambitious deadline is realistic only if Indian specialists turn to re-engineering the S-400 systems already received or later delivered from russia.

S-400 system / Defense Express / Why Delivery of Two S-400 System Sets from russia to India was Postponed to 2026
S-400 system / Open-source illustrative photo
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