The Russian S-300 SAM Family

The Russian S-300 SAM Family is a long range Surface to Air Missile system. Typically a unit is made up of radar detection vehicle, fire control/command vehicle and a Transporter Erector Launcher vehicle.

The first version of the vehicle entered service in 1979 and as of 2011 new versions are scheduled to  enter service despite the S-400.

The Russian S-300 SAM Family OF Variants


Transliterated from Russian С-300П, NATO reporting name SA-10 Grumble is the original version of the S-300.

An S-300PT unit consists of a 36D6 (NATO reporting name TIN SHIELD) surveillance radar, a 30N6 (FLAP LID) fire control system and 5P85-1 launch vehicles. The 5P85-1 vehicle is a semi-trailer truck. Usually a 76N6 (CLAM SHELL) low altitude detection radar is also a part of the unit.

The system was upgrade to the S-300PT-1 and later S-300PT-1A (SA-10b/c) which saw improvements to the launch time.


Russian С-300ПC/С-300ПМ, NATO reporting name SA-10d/e, was introduced in 1985 and is the only version thought to have been fitted with a nuclear warhead. This model saw the introduction of the modern TEL and mobile radar and command-post vehicles that were all based on the MAZ-7910 8×8 truck.


The next modernisation, called the S-300PMU (Russian С-300ПМУ, US DoD designation SA-10f) was introduced in 1992 for the export market.

9K81 S-300V

The S-300V is 0:51 minutes in to video

Russian 9К81 С-300В Антей-300 – named after Antaeus, NATO reporting name SA-12 Gladiator/Giant is a bit different from the other versions. It was built by Antey as opposed to Almaz. The V suffix stands for Voyska (ground forces).

It was designed to act as the top tier army air defence system (the other systems were operated by the Air-Force), providing a defence against ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft, replacing the SA-4 ‘Ganef’.

The “GLADIATOR” missiles have a maximum engagement range of around 75 km (47 miles) while the “GIANT” missiles can engage targets out to 100 km (62 miles) and up to altitudes of around 32 km (100,000 ft). In both cases the warhead is around 150 kg (331 lb).


The S-300PMU-1 was introduced in 1999 and for the first time introduced several different kinds of missiles in a single system. In addition to the 5V55R, 48N6E and 48N6E2 missiles the S-300PMU-1 can utilise two new missiles, the 9M96E1 and 9M96E2. Both are significantly smaller than the previous missiles at 330 and 420 kg (728 and 926 lb respectively) and carry smaller 24 kg (53 lb) warhead. The 9M96E1 has an engagement range of 1–40 km (1-25 mi) and the 9M96E2 of 1–120 km (1-75 mi). They are still carried 4 per TEL.

S-300PMU-2 Favorite

The S-300PMU-2 Favorite (Russian С-300ПМУ-2 Фаворит – Favourite, DoD designation SA-20B), introduced in 1997, is an upgrade to the S-300PMU-1 with range extended once again to 195 km (121 mi) with the introduction of the 48N6E2 missile.

 It uses the 83M6E2 command and control system, consisting of the 54K6E2 command post vehicle and the 64N6E2 surveillance/detection radar. It employs the 30N6E2 fire control/illumination and guidance radar. Like the S-300PMU-1, 12 TELs can be controlled, with any mix of 5P85SE2 self propelled and 5P85TE2 trailer launchers.

The S-300VM (Antey 2500) is an upgrade to the S-300V. It consists of a new command post vehicle, the 9S457ME and a selection of new radars. As all-round surveillance radar the 9S15M2, 9S15MT2E or 9S15MV2E are possible, and the sector surveillance radar was upgraded to 9S19ME. The upgraded guidance radar has Grau index 9S32ME. The system can still employ up to 6 TELARs, the 9A84ME launchers (up to 4 × 9M83ME missile) and up to 6 launcher/loader vehicles assigned to each launcher (2 × 9M83ME missile each). An upgraded version, dubbed S-300V4 will be delivered to Russian army in 2011.

The Russian S-300 SAM Family Operators


Belarus – S-300PS systems delivered from Russia in 2007 to replace older S-300 model in Belarusian inventory, Older S-300V sold to Turkey

Bulgaria – has ten S-300 launchers, divided into two units with five launchers each.

People’s Republic of China – China has bought the S-300PMU-1 and to date is the largest export client of the system. Its also rumoured that technology from the system has been integrated in to the domestically developed HongQi 9 (HQ-9) and that China are licensed to manufacture the system under the designation HongQi-15 (HQ-15).

Cyprus & Greece – Cyprus signed an agreement to buy S-300 systems in 1996. Eventually bought the S-300PMU-1 version, but due to political tension between Cyprus and Turkey and intense Turkish pressure, the system was transferred to the Greek Island of Crete. Finally, on 19/12/07 the missiles passed officially to Greek government.

Slovakia – Inherited from Czechoslovakia.

Syria – announced an intention to buy the S-300P in 1991 and now seems to possess the system.

Russia – Has used all of the S-300 variations. The Russian Air Defence Forces, which are part of the Air Force, currently operates 220 S-300PMUs and 200 S-300Vs, meaning they operate 420 in total.

Ukraine – S-300PS, S-300PMU, S-300V.

Venezuela – Venezuela has ordered S-300VM “Antey-2500” to equip 12 Regiments. Deliveries are expected to be completed by 2010-2011.

Vietnam – has bought two S-300PMU-1 batteries (12 launchers) for nearly $300 million.