The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


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.

Anti-aircraft missile system S-400 "Triumph" that Russia has decided to transfer to Syria after the shoot-down of the bomber Su-24M, will not only ensure the protection of the Russian aircraft throughout the Middle Eastern country, but also can be tested in combat conditions. Such an opinion was expressed by 25 November 2015 TASS interview with military experts. After the operation in Syria S-400 will be returned to Russia.

The plans place the newest system S-400 on the Syrian Hmeymim airbase, where Russian aircraft stationed, said November 25 Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. As explained later, Assistant to the President for Military-Technical Cooperation, Vladimir Kozhin, leave the newest systems in Syria is not planned - they are transported back to Russia after the operation against terrorists.

The decision to transfer the S-400 to the Middle East was a reaction to the loss of the Su-24M, which was shot down on the eve of the Turkish F-16 fighter. Turkey said that the downed aircraft violated the airspace of the country, while the Defense Ministry insisted on the opposite - a Turkish fighter plane intruded into the sky over Syria and Russian bomber did not break any boundaries.

The Russian General Staff, voiced a number of measures that Russia will implement the shoot-down of the Su-24M. To the coast of Syria have approached the missile cruiser "Moskva", equipped with air defense system "Bastion" - the Marine version of the S-300, S-400 predecessor. Russian planes are to be sent in combat missions with Hmeymim airbases with fighter escort. In addition, the military promised to destroy any target that would pose a potential threat to Russian aviation in Syria.

As noted in an interview with Trend, Head of the strategic situation, Ivan Konovalov, the C-400 is one of the most long-range air defense systems. "He hit 400 kilometers, - the expert reminded. - Thus, the complex can cover a large part of the conflict zone." According to Konovalov, range S-400 would be enough to cover the Russian group on the whole territory of Syria.

Anti-aircraft missile system S-400 arrived for combat duty on the Russian air base in Syria Hmeymim, spokesman of the Defense Ministry of Russia Igor Konashenkov told reporters 26 November 2015. "In accordance with the decision of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of Russia on the Russian air base in Syria Hmeymim was promptly delivered, deployed and has made atonement on alert to provide cover for the area air defense missile system S-400", he said.

S-400 is designed to destroy all types of current and future aerospace means of attack. The complex is capable of ranges of up to 400 km striking aerodynamic targets (aircraft, cruise missiles), and at a distance of 60 km - ballistic targets flying at speeds of up to 4.8 km / s at altitudes from a few meters to a few tens of kilometers.

According to Russian military experts, the S-400 zone is superior to the American Patriot system for aerodynamic purposes at least 1.5 times and twice and a half times for ballistic targets. The target range of "Triumph" with an anti-aircraft guided missile of the 40N6 type is 400 km, and the maximum height at which the object can be reached is 27 km. The low-flying objects of the missile are destroyed at a height of 5 m. For comparison: the American system is capable of hitting air targets flying only at an altitude of 60 m. The S-400 is rightly considered a universal weapon capable of destroying all modern and promising means of air and space attack.

The state program of armaments provides for the arrival of 56 S-400 divisions in the troops until 2020. At present, the basis of the air defense of Russia is the S-400 complexes. As of May 2016, the armed forces of the Russian army had 19 S-400 regiments (38 divisions out of 304 launchers). The Russian Armed Forces sent the second in 2017 a set of anti-aircraft missile system S-400. That is, the 20th regiment of this system was received. But this is also data from open sources, not officially confirmed.

Generally speaking, a lot of attention has recently been attracted to the S-400, mainly due to foreign deals. Of course, Washington is very worried about this, as it deals with the closest US allies in the Middle East, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Since the most potent long-range missile was still not operational by 2019, the currently fielded system uses the same long-range semi-active missile as the later versions of the older S-300-system, thus limiting range and performance against all targets but large aircraft at high altitude. Until the 40N6-missile is actually fielded, the main new features of the S-400 system is that its more modern radar is able to handle a greater number of targets simultaneously, and that its agile short- to medium-range active missiles have capabilities against low-flying and maneuvering targets and against incoming PGMs.

However, the comparatively short range of these agile missiles, in combination with the inherent problems of acquiring low-flying objects, limits the effective range of the S-400 against maneuvering targets at low altitude such as cruise missiles or fighter aircraft. Against such targets its effective range may be as little as 20-35 km, or even less depending on the terrain.

Qatar is still studying the purchase of Russia's S-400 missile air defence system, Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said, adding that the potential deal - reportedly opposed by Saudi Arabia - was none of Riyadh's business. Following a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on 27 May 2019, Sheikh Mohammed also said there was no sign of a thaw in the Gulf crisis over allegations by Saudi Arabia and some other Arab states that Qatar supports terrorism. "There is a discussion for procurement of various Russian equipment but there is no understanding as of yet as to this particular equipment (S-400)," Sheikh Mohammed told a joint news conference with Lavrov.

Join the mailing list

One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias

Page last modified: 29-05-2019 18:54:50 ZULU