We might never be done with this topic, and that’s OK.
On 17 March, TASS reported that Russia will sell China two “regimental sets” of S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missiles in a deal reportedly worth $3 billion.
The first will be delivered in December 2017-January 2018 and the second in May-June 2019, according to the news agency’s “military-diplomatic source.”
Moscow and Beijing signed the S-400 contract in September 2014.
Each “set” has two battalions of four S-400 launchers. Or a total of 16 launch vehicles. Or 64 missiles and an unreported number of reloads.
Recall that previous reports claimed China was after no less than six S-400 battalions for that same $3 billion price.
The September 2014 deal includes training for Chinese personnel beginning in the last quarter of 2017, according to TASS.
Its source also stated that the first “regiment” will have the same missiles as the S-300PMU-2 SAM systems China already has. The 48N6E2 with its 200-km range.
The second will have missiles “with improved characteristics.” Presumably, the newer 400-km 40N6E.
But it’s not clear that the 40N6 (or export-version 40N6E) missile is fully out of testing, if some press reporting is accurate.
China is, of course, the first foreign customer, but India will apparently be the second. According to RIA Novosti, India is negotiating for five S-400 battalions for a reported $5.8 billion.
However, it seems unlikely New Delhi would pay that kind of premium for a fifth battalion, even with all 40N6E missiles.