The S-400 is intended to engage aircraft, ballistic and cruise missiles, within the range of 400km, at an altitude of up to 30km.
With the ability to maneuver with a high-precision missile system, with a range of up to 400 km, experts say the S-400 is one of the most powerful air defense systems in the world.
The Russian S-400, known as the “Triumf” at home and better known to NATO as the SA-21 “Growler”, previously known as the S-300 PMU-3. It is an anti-aircraft weapon system developed in the 1990s by Russia’s Almaz Central Design Bureau as an upgrade of the S-300 family. It has been in service with the Russian Armed Forces since 2007. The S-400 uses four missiles to fill its performance envelope.
Development of the S-400 system began in the late 1980s, and the system was announced by the Russian Air Force in January 1993. The first tests were performed in 1999. Development was finally completed in 2004. After a lot of testing, In 2007, the system was approved for service.
The S-400 is also aimed at the export customers. China is the first country outside Russia that owns this air defense system. Turkey and India have ordered S-400 complexes worth billions of dollars despite warnings from the US. Countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia have also expressed interest in buying S-400 to strengthen their defenses. S-400 Triumf and Pantsir missile system can be integrated into a two-layer defense system.
The S-400 is intended to engage aircraft, ballistic and cruise missiles, within the range of 400km, at an altitude of up to 30km. The system can simultaneously engage 36 targets. The S-400 Triumph air defence system integrates a multifunction radar, autonomous detection and targeting systems, anti-aircraft missile systems, launchers, and command and control centre.
The S-400 can also launch missiles of the S-300PMU2. A single TEL vehicle can carry a mix of four missiles, depending on specific threat environment.
The first missile added to the system is the very-long-range 40N6. It has a claimed range of 400 km. This missile has active radar homing and is used against AWACS, J-STARS, EA-6B support jammers and other high value targets.
The second missile added is the long-range 48N6 with a maximum range of 230 km.
The third and forth missiles are the medium-range 9M96E2 and the short-range 9M96E, with ranges of 120km and 40km respectively. These are similar to the US Patriot PAC-3 design and are intended to provide point defense against precision attacks and defense suppression weapons.
It can be said that the S-400 is the real game changer. The 9M96E2 is one of the jewels of the S-400 system. It flies at Mach 15, it can engage targets as low as 5 meters off the ground, and it can maneuver pulling up to 20 Gs. It is designed to knock out penetrating aircraft and missiles flying “off the deck” or just above ground and neutralize cruise missiles.
The 55K6E is a command and control centre based on the Ural-532301. The command post is equipped with LCD consoles to process the air space surveillance data of the individual batteries. It controls and monitors long-range surveillance radar, tracks airborne threats, prioritises the threats, and coordinates other batteries. The system is also capable of exchanging data with other defence systems such as SA-12, SA-23, and S-300.
Sensor and radar systems
The S-400 has optional acquisition radars designed to defeat modern stealth aircraft such as the F-22 and the F-35. They work by operating in multiple frequency bands including both VHF and L bands that can “see” stealth-protected fighters.
The 91N6E is a panoramic radar detection system with range of 600 km, with protection against jamming which is mounted on an MZKT-7930. The S band system can track 300 targets.
The fire control and target tracking radar of the S-400 is the 92N6E. The radar is based on the MZKT-7930 8×8 vehicle. The 96L6 Cheese Board 3D surveillance and tracking radar is optionally carried by the same vehicle when the S-400 battery is deployed autonomously.
The S-400 is two-times more effective than previous Russian air defence systems and can be deployed within five minutes. It can also be integrated into the existing and future air defence units of the Air Force, Army, and the Navy.
One system comprising up to 8 divisions can control up to 72 launchers, with a maximum of 384 missiles. The missiles are fired by a gas system from the launch tubes up to 30 metres into the air before the rocket motor ignites, which increases the maximum and decreases the minimum ranges. All the missiles are equipped with directed explosion warhead, which increases the probability of complete destruction of targets. Anti-aircraft missile system, designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, it can also be used against ground objectives. The S-400 is able to intercept cruise missiles out to a range of about 40 km due to their low altitude flight paths.
The Russians have definitely made a breakthrough with sales of weapons to some NATO countries with uncertain futures in the bloc and strong US client countries such as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states such as the UAE.
The S-400 attracts many countries because it is considered one of the most modern weapons Russia possesses, with its advantages not appearing on similar Western weapons.
S-400’s radar, sensors and missiles can control large areas. The radar’s surveillance radius is at least 600 km and missiles can hit targets up to 400 km away. Meanwhile, the American Patriot complex only has a range of about 160 km.
But all the above specifications are only on paper. We haven’t seen any real battle with S-400 to see its true power. Let’s wait and see.
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