World

Patriot Missile losing market to S-400 : Is that the real worry of US?

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The United States is yet to take a firm stand on whether to impose sanctions on India or not over the purchase of S-400 air defence missile system from Russia. While India is hoping for a waiver from sanction under CAATSA, New Delhi has made it clear that national interest comes first and the defence deals with Russia will go on.

The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA is a US federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia. CAATSA also proposes sanctions on countries indulging with Russia in significant defence deals. India’s close $5 Billion worth purchase of S-400 missiles definately falls under the category of significant.

China has also purchased S-400 missiles from Russia and for that the US has imposed sanctions on Beijing. The US has imposed sanctions on China’s Equipment Development Department (EDD), the military branch responsible for weapons and equipment, and its director, Li Shangfu, for engaging in “significant transactions” with Rosoboronexport, Russia’s main arms exporter

US says that CAATSA is aimed at punishing Russia for its aggression in Ukraine and involvement in Syria’s civil war. CAATSA also seeks to penalise Moscow for meddling in the 2016 US election, something which Russia denies.

The US may or may not impose sanctions on India, that is something only time will tell. There is another aspect to this entire sanctions in the name of CAATSA debate. Is there something else that is making the US impose sanctions on whoever buys S-400 missiles? Although, it must be acknowledged that the US is imposing sanctions on countries even for other reasons, like on China, purchase of 10 SU-35 combat aircraft in 2017 was cited as one of the reasons.

But somehow one cannot stop thinking that the US is particularly irked whenever any nation buys S-400 missiles from Russia. Is there a specific reason for this? One can only speculate, but the fact remains that US made MIM-104 Patriot, a system comparable with S-400, is losing market to the Russian weapon system across the globe.

Both are surface-to-air systems designed to shoot down aircraft and ballistic missiles. But the S-400 has a longer range than the Patriot, 250 kilometers vs 160 kilometers. An upgrade coming later this year is expected to stretch the S-400’s range to 400 kilometers. It also has a more powerful radar that can destroy targets moving twice as fast, and is quicker to set up. While both systems are mounted on trucks, the S-400 can be ready for action in five minutes, compared with an hour for a Patriot battery. The S-400 is also slightly cheaper than the Patriot, on a per-battery basis.

Again, no definitive conclusions can be drawn from this, but it is something worth considering, as arms lobby in the US is considered very strong. A lot has been written about how arms lobby in the US does influence the political decision making.

By: One India

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