S-300PMU3 / S-400 Triumf / SA-21 Growler
The S-400 is a new generation system of medium and long-range air defense, capable of destroying all modern air weaponry, including tactical and strategic airplanes, ballistic missiles and hypersonic targets. The S-400 Triumf (SA-21 Growler) air defense system is expected to form the cornerstone of Russia's theater air and missile defenses by 2020. The S-400, manufactured by Almaz-Antey, is capable of targeting up to 36 airplanes at a range of 150 kilometers. The S-400 has the ability to not only shoot down airplanes, but also ballistic missiles.
The S-400 was developed in response to President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), also known as Star Wars. The S-400 program has evidently been under development since the 1980s, and has apparently undergone considerable evolution over time, resulting in considerable confusion in the public record on even the most basic facts associated with the program. The S-400 program has apparently severed the historically close walk-across between Russian and Western designation systems. Until recently, each Russian designator had a direct and unique Western counterpart, and vice versa [allowing for minor variants]. But the S-400 encompasses three entirely unrelated missiles, only two of which are genuinely new, and the most widely publicized of the new missiles may never see operational deployment.
The Triumf S-400, initially known as the S-300PMU3, is a new generation of air defense and theater anti-missile weapon developed by the Almaz Central Design Bureau as an evolution of the S-300PMU [SA-10] family. Major differences between the PMU-2 and the S-400 include a larger number of targets it can track and improved electronic counter-countermeasures. The Triumf system includes radars capable of detecting low-signature targets.
The Russian Air Force is studying a reduction in the number of types of air defense weapons, and it is possible that Triumf will become the only system being developed, providing defense both in the close-range and mid-range as well long-range zones. The system was developed through the cooperation of the Almaz Central Design Bureau, Fakel Machine Building Design Bureau, Novosibirsk Scientific Research Institute of Instruments, St. Petersburg Design Bureau of Special Machine Building and other enterprises.
The S-400 is a three-tier air defense system: 9M96, 48N6, and 40N6. The 48N6DM is a variant of the 48N6 from the S-300PMU-2 Favorit matched to the S-400 to provide the mid-range (to 200 km) tier of defense. The Fakel Machine Building Design Bureau developed two new missiles for Triumf, the shorter range 9M96 and the very long range 40N6. These new missiles can be accomodated on the existing SAM system launchers of the S-300PMU family. A container with four 9M96's can be installed in place of one container with the 5V55 or 48N6 missiles, and thus the the standard launcher intended for four 48N6Ye missiles can accommodate up to 16 9M96Ye missiles.
The Triumf air defense system can also use 48N6E missiles of the S-300PMU-1 system and 48N6E2 missiles of the S-300PMU-2 Favorit system, making it possible to smoothly change over to the production of the new generation system. It will include the previous control complex, though supporting not six but eight SAM systems, as well as multifunctional radar systems illumination and guidance, launchers, and associated autonomous detection and target indication systems.
The S-400 Triumph (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) was developed as an upgrade of the S300 series of surface-to-air missile systems. The system entered service in April 2007 and the first S-400 was deployed in combat in August 2007. Russia set up four S-400 regiments defending national airspace in the Moscow region, the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, and the Eastern Military District.
In early September 2014, the S-400s arrived in places of permanent deployment in the Southern Military District near the Russian city of Krasnodar from the Ashuluk testing range in the Astrakhan region after having conducted live-fire training exercises. Three S-400 regiments are deployed near Moscow in the cities of Dmitrov, Zvenigorod and Elektrostal, while another regiment was being deployed. Three more regiments are deployed in the Baltic Sea region, in the port city of Nakhodka and in the Southern Military District. Soon the regiment would also appear on the Kola Peninsula.
Almaz-Antey Air Defense Concern was established in 2002, has its headquarters in Moscow and delivers final products to foreign customers through JSC Rosoboronexport, as well as operates as an independent entity engaged in military and technical cooperation. The main scope of the concern's activities is the production, modernization, repair and disposal of the air defense systems.
Russia claims that the S-400 Triumf, a top-tier anti-aircraft weapon system produced in Russia, has no parallels across the globe in terms of combat capabilities. The US-built Terminal High Altitude Area Defense [THAAD] has shorter range and is incapable of hitting targets beyond the horizon. In addition, it is purely an anti-ballistic missile system designed to shoot down ballistic missiles. The S-400 is capable of hitting targets at a height of up to 300 kilometers (186 miles). Its second distinctive feature is fire-and-forget capability. Its missiles are fitted with a homing device which can lock on a target and destroy it. Unlike US systems, it is said that the S-400 does not need to track the target. In addition, the S-400 is the only missile complex in the world capable of hitting targets located beyond the horizon. The system is also well protected against electronic warfare.
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