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S-400 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.

China has signed a contract with Rosoboronexport for the supply of S-400 air defense systems, the companys managing director Anatoly Isaikin confirmed in an interview 15 April 2015 with the Kommersant business daily. "I will not disclose details of the deal but, indeed, China has become the first buyer of this latest Russian air defense system, which highlights the strategic level of our mutual relations," said Isaikin when asked whether it was true that in September 2014 Beijing signed a contract for the purchase of four S-400 battalions.

Isaikin went on to add that "many countries" were eager to purchase the S-400, although the Russian defense industry, specifically the Almaz-Antey concern, was under obligation to primarily supply the new system for the needs of the Russian Defense Ministry.

"Even given their expanded production capacities, it is difficult to manufacture these systems for several countries at the same time. China has become the pioneer in this respect," he added. Asked whether Russian enterprises were wary of entering into cooperation with Chinese companies, the Rosoboronexport head said he believed that if the Russian side was working in China's interests, it was "working in its own interests too."

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