Russian S-400 Surface to Air Missile System: Is It Worth the Sticker Price? (excerpt)
(Source: Rand. Corp. blog; issued May 06, 2020)
by Peter A. Wilson and John V. Parachini
In October 2018, the India Ministry of Defense concluded a $5.5 billion deal to buy four regiments of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missiles (SAM). Just over a year later, India made an advance payment of $850 million to expedite the deployment from Russia of the first regiment by September 2021.

However, many countries do not fully appreciate that effective air defense requires a networked system and not just one missile system component. To get the true defensive value out of the S-400, there are additional components that add costs and complexities to the system.

To support U.S. government foreign assistance training for nations on how to comply with U.S. and U.N. sanctions, the RAND Corporation has assembled an open source database of Russia arms sales around the world. One of the findings from the material contained in this database is that many countries with scarce national resources purchase weapons systems without fully appreciating the other equipment elements required to make the systems effective. Additionally, they do not adequately account for the full lifecycle costs of all the pieces of equipment needed; lifecycle costs typically exceed the original purchase costs in about seven years.

The Indian Armed Forces, like other national militaries seeking to boost their air defense capabilities, must sort through tremendous financial and technical challenges. India faces a diverse set of ballistic missile threats from its neighbors and no single system can solve this complex challenge.

Even the S-400, a very high-performance high-altitude missile aerospace defense system (HIMADS), has important limitations. (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story, on the Rand Corp. website.

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