On January 18, an unnamed source close to the Russian system of military cooperation told the Russian news agency TASS that Russia delivered several elements of the S-400 Triumf air defense missile systems to China. A control station, a radar station, energy and support equipment and spare parts were among the elements that was shipped to the country, according to the source.
“The implementation of the contract has begun, the first shipment has been sent to China,” the source told TASS.
China became the first foreign country to purchase the Russian advance long-range air defense system when the deal was signed in 2014. Several experts described the deal as a “game changer” in eastern Asia, as the range of the S-400 Triumf could reach warplanes over Taiwan Island and the disputed areas in the South China Sea.
Six S-400 Triumf long-range air defense systems will be delivered to China under the 2014 deal. However, its unknown if the Chinese S-400 will be armed with the advanced 40N6 missile that has a range of 400km or the downgraded 48N6DM/48N6E3 missiles that have a range of 250km.
The source revealed to TASS that the contact with China does not include technology transfer or licensed production. This could mean that China will receive an advanced but “locked” version of the S-400 Triumf system.
In September 2017, Turkey become the second foreign country to buy the S-400 Triumf system. Other countries including India, Algeria and Saudi Arabia have already stressed its interest in the advanced Russian air defense system or even started negotiating to purchase it.