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Russia's advanced S-400 air defence system gets license for export

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The S-400 is an advancement of the S-300 missile system (in picture). Courtesy: Ria Novosti

MOSCOW (BNS): Russia's advanced S-400 "Triumf" air defence system has received the license for export and China could become the first foreign buyer of the surface-to-air missile system.

"Russia's latest air defence system - S-400 has been issued a license for exports; talks are underway on its exports abroad," the Deputy Director General of Almaz Antey, which has designed and developed the air and missile defence system, said during the "Rosoboronexport" show at Zhukovsky, Moscow.

"It's export passport has already been received. At present, we are conducting talks on the exports of the defence complex abroad. We have already made considerable progress," the Executive, Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass news agency.

While priority was being given to deliver the system to the Russian armed forces within the State Defence Order, new contracts would be signed with foreign customers "with reasonable deadlines and with regard for our possibilities," the official said.

The new contracts for the S-400s will replace the S-300 export contracts, he added.

"We are currently engaged in marketing of the S-400 air defence missile system. Yes, the S-300 system is efficient, but if we have developed new systems why not offer them to our customers and potential partners," the Deputy Chief of Almaz Antey said.

The company is in talks over setting up service centres in Algeria, Vietnam, India and China, a company official said during the arms exhibition.

The S-400 Triumph long-and medium-range system is capable of guiding up to 72 missiles and engaging up to 36 targets simultaneously within a range of 400 kilometres -- twice the range of the US's MIM-104 Patriot, and 2.5 times that of the S-300PMU-2.

The air defence missile is designed to intercept and destroy air-borne targets including stealth aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.

Meanwhile, China, which has been negotiating with Russia to procure the S-400 systems since long, could become the first potential customer of the advanced weapon which could help the country integrate its air defence and anti-missile systems, Taiwan-based WantChinaTimes website said on Monday citing a report in China's national broadcaster CCTV.

The S-400 system comes with powerful radar and has anti-jamming capabilities. It is able to create a multi-layer air defence structure with three guided missiles of different ranges as well as tracking hundreds of targets and attacking up to 36 of them at once.

The system could affect regional security if China bought the system and planted it within range of the disputed Diaoyutai island (Diaoyu or Senkaku), said Paul Schwartz, a researcher for the Centre for Strategic & International Studies' Russian and Eurasia Programme.

Along with the S-400 system and its existing surface-to-air guided missiles Hongqi-9 (HQ-9), S-300 and the advanced version of S-300 (previously procured from Russia), China will be able to build an air defence system covering long, medium and short distances, Du Wenlong, a military analyst was quoted as saying by the website.

The country will also be able to integrate the system with anti-guided missile systems. The chance of intercepting high-precision guided weapons such as guided missiles is likely to increase significantly in the future, also expanding the types of targets that China could intercept, Du said.

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