The Russian S-400 Surface To Air System

Most of the vehicles on this section of the site focus on the self propelled low altitude Anti-Aircraft systems, where as The Russian S-400 Surface To Air System can go that bit further in engaging not only aircraft but also cruise missiles, UAVs, and short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. Its currently the most advanced system of its kind in the world and can out perform the famous US Patriot equivalent (which the US is developing a replacement) and can intercept & destroy these airborne targets, at speeds of up to 4.8 km’s per second.

The development of the S-400 Triumf (Russian: C-400 «Триумф») AKA SA-21 Growler in NATO, was announced in 1999 as a more advanced system than that of the older S-300 vehicle. The system was to have an improved detection system with an increased capability of detecting stealth aircraft and a much improved interceptor missile.

Trials had kicked off in February 1999 at the Kapustin Yar site in Astrakhan and were believed to be largely successful. However the development was hampered by financial issues and in 2003, Colonel General Alexei Moskovsky, Chief of the Armament Department of the Armed Forces, and General Anatoly Kvashnin, Chief of the General Staff, expressed their concerns that the S-400 was being tested using “obsolete” interceptors from the S-300P (such as the 48N6 missile).

In 2004 an upgraded 48N6 long-range interceptor, designated 48N6DM had successfully intercepted and destroyed a test ballistic missile. Russia has been marketing the vehicle since 2004 at defence shows like IDEF 2009.

Two missiles have been developed, the 9M96 with a range of 40 km, and the larger 9M96/2 with a range of 120 km. A third missile is reported to be in development, the 40N6, with a range of 400 km. A fourth missile was reported in 2002, for an upgraded S-400B. Missiles are stored in the distinct large missile canisters on the rear of the vehicle.

The Russian S-400 Surface To Air System Operators (includes future sales)

Belarus – In 2009, Russian news agency RIA Novosti, reported that their sources indicated that Belarus had submitted a formal request for two battalions of S-400 systems (regular S-400 battalion consists of at least eight launchers with 32 missiles and a mobile command post).

China – there is much speculation as to the level of involvement in the development of the S-400 following leaked pictures of the system in China. Its reported that the vehicle is in service under the designation HQ-19 and it uses the same missiles, sensors, battle management and launch vehicles as the Russian S-400.

Russia – In February 2008 Lieutenant General Vladimir Sviridov announced Russia will replace S-300 air and missile defence systems with the advanced S-400 model to the country’s Northwest, in addition to Moscow and various industrial zones in central Russia. He went on to say that the S-400 will comprise the backbone of Russia’s theatre air defence through 2020 or 2025.

By the end of 2008, Russia announced that two regiments of S-400’s were in service. Its not fully clear how many vehicles will finally be deployed in Russia as its reported that the systems successor, the S-500 is in development.

In 2009 Gen. Nikolai Makarov told a news conference “We have already deployed a battalion of the S-400 systems in Russia’s Far East in order to guarantee protection from failed launches of (referring to the test missiles fired by North Korea) missiles and to ensure that the fragments of these missiles never fall on Russian territory”.

Saudi Arabia – The Saudi kingdom is purchasing at least eight launch units and up to thirty two missiles under its much publicised 2 billion dollar shopping spree (its having to buy Russian equipment as its found it hard to purchase new equipment in the West as Saudi nationals were the bombers in the 9/11 attacks).

Turkey – The system is competing in the Turkish Long Range Anti Aircraft Missile Program.