Russia is reportedly shipping its advanced S-400 anti-aircraft missile system to China

Russian S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile systems at the Victory Day parade, marking the 71st anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, at Red Square in Moscow, May 9, 2016.

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Russian S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile systems at the Victory Day parade, marking the 71st anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, at Red Square in Moscow, May 9, 2016.
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REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia has started delivering its S-400 surface-to-air missile system to China under the terms of a contract signed in 2014, the TASS news agency cited an unnamed source in the Russian military-industrial complex as saying on Thursday.

“The implementation of the contract has begun, the first shipment has been sent to China,” the source told TASS.

The source said the delivery included a control station, a radar station, energy and support equipment, spare parts, various tools and other components of the S-400 system.

The contract with China doesn’t stipulate technology transfer or license production, according to the TASS source. Russia reportedly trained a group of Chinese military personnel to use the system in 2017.

China has already deployed 15 divisions of the S-400’s predecessor system, the S-300, along the coast of Fujian province, targeting northern Taiwan, according to Asia Times. The S-400 system, of which China reportedly plans to buy six batteries, likely brings the entire island of Taiwan within range of Chinese forces for the first time.

S-400s stationed in China’s Shandong province would also be in range of the disputed Diaoyu Islands, which are known as the Senkaku Islands by Japan, which claims them.

However, the S-400’s effectiveness in the area would likely depend on the type of missile deployed with the batteries. And the purchase of only six batteries may mean it is a limited measure while China develops its own anti-aircraft missile system.

(Reporting for Reuters by Polina Devitt; editing by Andrew Osborn)