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S-300PMU3 / S-400 Triumf / SA-21 Growler

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 has 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.

9M96 Medium-Range Missile

The 9M96 medium-range missile, which comes in two versions (9M96E and 9M96E2), is designed to destroy aircraft and air- delivered weapons at ranges in excess of 120 km. The 9M96E is a single-stage missile with a dual mode guiding system, radar active in the final phase and inertial with radio- control in the cruising phase. The missile is small-- considerably lighter than the ZUR 48N6Ye used in the S-300PMU1 systems and the Favorit. The missile is equipped with an active homing head and has an estimated single shot kill probability of 0.9 for manned aircraft and 0.8 for unmanned maneuvering aircraft. A gas-dynamic control system enables the 9M96 missile to maneuver at altitudes of up to 35 km at forces of over 20g, which permits engagment of non- strategic ballistic missiles with trajectory speed up to 4.8km/s. One 9M96 modification will become the basic long-range weapon of Air Force combat aircraft, and may become the standardized missile for air defense SAM systems, ship-launched air defense missile systems, and fighter aircraft.

The 9M96E and 9M96E2 missiles carry similar onboard equipment, payload and are identical in construction. The only difference between the two missiles is that the 9M96E2 model is equipped with a larger and more powerful propulsion motor featuring a greater power-to-weight ratio. With little difference in size and weight, the 9M96E and 9M96E2 missiles may engage targets at a range of 1 to 40 km (9M96E) and 120 km (9M96E2) and at an altitude of 5 m to 20 km (9M96E) and 30 km (9M96E2).

The 9M96E2 missiles is based on all-new components, use new high-energy solid fuel and an advanced guidance and control system which has made it possible to minimize their size. The 9M96E2 missile can intercept all types of aircraft, including tactical ballistic and medium-range theater missiles flying at altitudes from 5 meters to 30 kilometers. Their exceptionally high accuracy is ensured by the missile's main secret, the so-called transverse control engine, which rules out misses during the final approach trajectory. The transverse control engine is still without parallel in the world. Russia's top-of-the-line 9M96E2 guided air defense missile is being marketed by Russia's state-owned arms trader Rosvooruzhenye. A mockup of the missile was set up at an Athens arms exhibition in October 1998.

One variant of the 9M96 is an air launched version proposed for long range anti-AWACs use on the Mig-31M. Another variant of the 9M96 in the 96M9M target drone, designed to simulate various high speed ballisitic targets with various RCS at speeds of up to 1.3km/s.

48N6DM Medium-Range Missile

The new 48N6DM missile, an upgraded version of the long-range 48N6 for the S-400 air-defence system, was tested by the Fakel Machine Design Bureau on 30 April 2004 at the Kapustin Yar Missile Test Range (KYMTR). Other missiles associated with the S-400 system include the 9M96, 9M96M, 48N6 and 40N6.

40N6 Long-Range Missile

The "big" missile [designation otherwise unknown as of 1999] is intended to have a range of up to 400 km and will be able to engage over-the-horizon [OTH] targets using a new seeker head developed by Almaz Central Design Bureau. This seeker can operate in both a semiactive and active mode, with the seeker switched to a search mode on ground command and homing on targets independently. Targets for this missile include airborne early warning and control aircraft as well as jammers.

This new system is intended to detect and destroy airborne targets at a distance of up to 400 km (twice the range of the MIM-104 Patriot, and 2-2.5 times greater than the previous S-300PMU system). The main difference between the PMU-2 and the S-400 is greater engagement range of the latter, about 250 miles against aircraft versus 125 miles. The anti-missile capability of the system has been increased to the limits established by the ABM Treaty demarcation agreements -- it can intercept targets with velocities of up to 4.8 km/sec, corresponding to a ballistic missile range of 3,500 km. The 40N6 has an estimated speed of around 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) per second.

During the MAKS 2003 exhibition in Moscow it was reported that state trials of the 40N6 were expected to continue through 2004, in the hope that the S-400 could finally enter service some time in 2005. As of mid-2007 work on the 40N6 missile was still under way, and this missile was to be incorporated into the S-400 batteries no sooner than 2008. Until then, the S-400 would remain little more than another incremental upgrade to the S-300P family.

It is possible that the 40N6 may never be deployed. Almaz began work on an S-500, described in September 2002 as an improvement of the Phase 2 S-400, with new missiles and radar. As of 2007 it appeared that the merged Antey-Almaz was working on the S-500 Samoderzhets (Autocrat) system, that will include elements from both the S-400 system and the long range S-300VM (Antey 2500).

S-400 Radars

One S-400 regiment consists of a command section with a 96L6 radar, which replaces both the 64N6 and 76N6 used in the S-300PMU-2. The command section can control up to six batteries. Each battery consists of one GRAVE STONE engagement radar which can control up to 12 TELs. The S-300PMU-2 Favorit Command Post included the 54?6?2 combat control system and the 64N6E2 detection radar (300km, s-band). Each of 90Zh6E2 batteries include a 30N6E2 multifunctional illumination and guidance radar (x-band), 96L6E all-altitude detection and target designation multiphased array radar, and 8 launchers 5P85SE in Transport-Launch Containers (TLC) with four missiles in each.

Russia displayed the 96L6 surveillance radar for the S-400 missile system at the MAKS 2001 defence exhibition at Zhukovsky near Moscow. It operates in C-band, and the manufacturers say it can detect and track aircraft and cruise missiles which use stealth technology. Work on the 96L6 began in the second half of the 1980s, when Boris Vasilyevics Bunkin, the general designer of CKB Almaz defined the requirements for a surveillance radar to form part of the new S-400 missile system. In 1988, representatives of the main developing organisation and the customer signed agreement giving the go-ahead for wideband radar technology, based on this earlier research to be used in the VVO program. In 1991, the Lira design bureau built a prototype of the VVO radar. This started operation in early 1992.

The role of the 96L6 is the detection of air targets and measuring of their azimuth, elevation and range. It can be used with the S-300PMU surface-to-air (SAM) system, can autonomously assign targets for the 90Zh6E, 90Zh6E1 and 90Zh6E2 (S-300PMU-1 and later) air-defence missile complexes, and can be connected with the Baykal-1E and Senezh-M1E automated command and control systems or the radiotechnical forces' Osnova-1E and Polye-E command posts. It can pass information about a wide spectrum of the aerial targets, including aircraft, helicopters, UAVs and missiles, to the 30N6E, 30N6E1, 30N6E2 ('Flap Lid') series of tracking and missile guidance radars.

GRAVE STONE is the modified TOMB STONE engagement radar.

The 55Zh6-1 Nebo-U radar sets are to be fielded along with the S-400, though they are not an organic element of the S-400. The radar was developed by the Nizhny Novgorod Rsearch and Development Institute of Radio Technology [NNIIRT]. It is said to be the only radar in the world with a digital phased-array antenna that works in the metric-wave band. The radar has one horizontal and one vertical antenna of large size and deeply modified Yagi-type aerials. The radar's range is up to 600 km for targets flying between 40-75,000 m, 400 km for targets at 20,000 m, 300 km for targets at 10,000 m, and at least 65 km for targets flying at 500 m. Despite its metric wavelength, the achieved resolution is high, reportedly 400 m in distance and 0.4 degress in azimuth. The radar can rotate at speeds of 10 rpm or 20 rpm to provide 360-degree coverage. Due to its large antennas and complexity, the radar requires seven heavy trucks and trailers to transport it, and its deployment time is 22 hours. The Nebo-U radar sets are being manufactured by AOA Nitel Company (Nizhny Novogrod, Russia), which already has produced of small batch of pre-series sets. The radar sets, types 55Zh6-1 and 1L13-3, were shown twice, in 1992 and 1993, at Nizhni Novgorod International Fair and at MOSAEROSHOW exhibition in Moscow. They attracted the interest of experts at the recent exhibition of weaponry in Abu-Dhabi.

Development History

By one account, when the Soviet Union collapsed the S-400 program was re-defined into a three step program. Phase 0 was based on the missiles, launchers, radar of the S-300 PMU-2, with updated software and electronics. Phase 1 incorporated three new missiles system: the 9M96E and 9M96E2 with a quadruple launcher (instead of the 9A83M launcher), and the new long range 40N6 missile called with a range of 400 km. Phase 2 is based on the integration of the new GRAVE STONE phased array tracking radar.

Development of the S-400 system started during the late 1990s with the first tests taking place at Kapustin Yar in Astrakhan. The state tests of the S-400 system reportedly began in 1999, with the initial test on 12 February 1999 using the 48N6E missiles of the S-300PMU-1 system. As of May 1999 the testing of S-400 air defense system was reportedly nearing completion at Kapustin Yar, with the first systems of this kind to be delivered to the Moscow Air Force and Air Defense District in the fourth quarter of 1999. However, as of August 1999 government testing of the S-400 was slated to begin at the end of 1999, with the first system complex slated for delivery in late 2000. The sources of the apparent one-year delay in the program are unclear, though they may involve some combination of technical and financial problems with this program. Russian air defense troops conducted a test of the new anti-aircraft missile system S-400 on 07 April 2000. At that time, Air Force Commander Anatoly Kornukov said that serial production of the new system would begin in June 2000. Kornukov said air defense troops would get one S-400 launcher system by the end of 2000, but it would be armed with missiles of the available S-300 system.

On condition of normal funding, radars with an acquisition range of 500-600 km would have become operational by 2002-2003. However, other sources reported that while it was ordered by the Defence Ministry, the military had nothing to pay for it with, so it was unclear when the Russian military will get this new weapon.

The 40km-range 9M96 (export designation 9M96E) and 120km-range 9M96/2 (export designation 9M96E2), and the ground-based radar, fire-control and launch systems were ready as of 2004, but development of the 400km-range 40N6 had been delayed by various problems.

In August 2005 Lieutenant General Aytech Bizhev, Deputy Commander-in-Chief (CinC) for the Commonwealth of Independent States Unified Air-Defence, said that two S-400 systems were deployed with the air force for field testing and that these will be deployed fully in 2005.

In April 2007, Colonel-General Yury Solovyov, commander of the Air Defense Forces Special Command (former Moscow Military District Air Defense Command), said the system could also be used for limited purposes in missile and space defense, but that it is not intended to destroy intercontinental ballistic missiles. However, he said the system is capable of destroying stealth aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles with an effective range of up to 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) and a speed of up to 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) per second.

On 06 August 2007 the head of the Almaz central design bureau said that Russia could start producing the S-400 Triumf (NATO codename SA-21 Growler) air defense complex for export from 2009. "Within two years, our forces will test this system to ensure that there are no problems with it [on the market]... and then we will start producing them for export from 2009," Igor Ashurbeili said.

As of 2007 the Russian Air Defense Forces, a part of the Air Force, deployed more than 30 regiments equipped with S-300 missile complexes, which will be gradually replaced with S-400 systems. The first S-400 complexes will be deployed at an air defense missile regiment in the town of Elektrostal, about 50 km to the east of Moscow.

As of 2007 Russia had plans to purchase up to 200 launchers by 2015. Under the state arms program, several dozen regiments are to be equipped with new systems. This may not be enough to cover Russia's entire territory, but it was sufficient to protect the main cities and strategic installations. It will slowly deploy the S-400 in Moscow and Central Russia as it phases out the older S-300. It is expected that all 35 air defense regiments will be re-equipped.

Russia has signed a contract to deliver the S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to China, Vedomosti daily reported on 26 November 2014. The contract between Russias Rosoboronexport and Chinas Defense Ministry on the delivery of at least six divisions of the S-400 systems for more than $3 billion was concluded at the beginning of autumn. The talks between the two states on the issue have been continuing for several years.



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