The United States may offer India an opportunity to buy the lackluster and problem ridden fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets, on the condition that New Delhi refuses to buy the Russian Triumph S-400 air defense system, touted as one of the best systems in the world today. India and Russia have already signed agreement worth $ 5.4 billion for the S-400. This was reported today, on June 13, by The Economic Times.
“The US has stepped up pressure on India in connection with the signing of an agreement on the supply of S-400 in October last year. High-ranking representatives of Washington said that it would have a direct impact on any cooperation (of two countries) in the field of high technologies, ” the newspaper notes.
The Indian authorities are observing the situation around the Russian-Turkish deal on the S-400 air defense system for $ 2.5 billion. The US is threatening Ankara with sanctions and the refusal to fulfill the contract to supply F-35 fighters. Meanwhile, the newspaper points out, the Indian Ministry of Defense is expected to announce a tender for 111 fighters for the Air Force in the near future as part of a strategic partnership program. The Indian Navy is also preparing technical justifications for the upcoming purchase of 57 combat aircraft.
“While there were no official requests from India, and the US did not offer delivery of the F-35, these aircraft are considered to be the only air platform that, if modernized and equipped with (appropriate) weapons, could hit the S-400 air defense system, which was delivered to China.” – emphasizes The Economic Times.
But military experts have generally rejected such claims, pointing out that the F-35 lacks the capacity to evade the S-400, and in fact performs worse than crafts of the prior generation.
According to The Economic Times, “like Turkey, India firmly adheres to the line on the acquisition of S-400, while even a partial payment of this transaction makes possible sanctions against New Delhi, which are provided for recipients of weapons from Russia.”
Stricter sanctions in the framework of CAATSA (the law “On Counteracting America’s Opponents through Sanctions”) also threaten countries that buy S-400 from Russia.
“Although there was an impression that the United States would make an exception for India and would not apply the sanctions provided for by CAATSA, Washington’s latest statements do not support this,” the publication believes.
Washington does not allow the use of the latest American combat aircraft by countries that are armed with the S-400 air defense missile system, due to the fact that their technical data can be used to modify and increase the combat capabilities of this air defense system.
“In order to prevent India from receiving the S-400, the United States offered to purchase the NASAMS II US air defense system for air and missile defense in the metropolitan Delhi region. In addition to this, the United States is also negotiating with India on the supply of the THAAD and Patriot PRO systems, the price of which far exceeds the cost of the C-400, ”the newspaper said.
The contract for the supply of India with the S-400 Triumph SAM system was signed in October 2018 during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to India. It is assumed that under a contract worth over $ 5 billion, New Delhi will receive five regimental system kits.