S-400 Triumph Long Range Air Defense Missile System of Russia – SA-21 Growler

S-400 Triumph long range air defense missile system of Russia is intended to engage aircraft, ballistic and cruise missiles. It is claimed that the S-400 is capable of detecting and engaging targets to a range of 400 km.

S-400 triumph - SA-21 Growler

The S-400 Triumph (Western designation SA-21 Growler) air defense missile system is an upgrade of the S-300 family. It evolved from the S-300PMU-2 Favorit. Initially it was referred as S-300-PMU-3. Its development began in the late 1990s. It is believed that funding of the development was partially provided by China. The first tests were performed in 1999. Development was finally completed in 2004. Deployment of this air defense missile system has begun on a small scale in 2007. It will replace the ageing S-200 and S-300 systems with the Russian military.

Some sources reported that by 2015 more than 150 launchers were produced. The S-400 is also aimed at the export customers. In 2014 first contract has been signed to deliver at least six battalions of these air defense systems to China. Deliveries began in 2018. Also the S-400 air defense system has been exported to Algeria. In 2017 Saudi Arabia signed an agreement to buy these air defense systems from Russia.

In 2018 Turkey ordered this air defense system. First deliveries were made in 2019. Some sources reported that Turkish S-400 air defense systems were inspected by US specialist in order to examine their capabilities, notably against stealthy fighters. Turkey actually announced such intentions to allow US experts to examine the system back in 2018.

S-400 Triumph Capability

   The S-400 is intended to engage aircraft, ballistic and cruise missiles. It is claimed that the S-400 is capable of detecting and engaging targets to a range of 400 km, depending on the missile variant used. It is also claimed that this air defense missile system is capable of engaging stealth aircraft. However since 2017 Israel was using its F-35I Adir stealthy multi-role fighters against targets in Syria. Some of the targets were close to Russian military bases. However Russia’s air defense systems, including the S-300 and S-400, could not destroy any of the Israeli F-35s.

   The S-400 air defense missile system features new missiles. Four new missile types were added. It can also launch missiles of the S-300PMU2. A single TEL vehicle can carry a mix of four missiles, depending on specific threat environment.

   The first missile added to the system is the 48N6E3. It is improved variant of the 48N6E2 with a maximum range of 230 km. The second missile added is the 40N6. It has a range of 400 km. In 2020 the S-400 conducted a test where it demonstrated the 400 km range and destroyed a simulated ballistic missile. The 40N6 missile has active radar homing and is typically used against AWACS, J-STARS, EA-6B support jammers and other high value targets.

   The third and forth missiles are the 9M96E and 9M96E2 interceptor missiles, designed for direct impact. These are similar to the US Patriot PAC-3 design and are intended to provide point defense against precision attacks and defense suppression weapons.

   The latter version is fitted with a larger booster. A claimed range is 40 and 120 km respectively. The 9M96 missile is 4.75 m long and has a launch weight of 333 kg. Its warhead weights 24 kg. It has internal guidance with command updates and active radar seeker. Its claimed kill probability is 90% against aircraft and 70% against Harpoon class missiles. A single TEL can deploy up to 16 of these missiles.

   Radar and software of the S-400 were further refined. A new acquisition radar is employed.

   The S-400 TEL semi-trailer is towed by a BAZ-64022 6×6 tractor truck. Radar of the S-400 Triumph is carried by the MZKT-7930 8×8 truck. Battery acquisition radar is also carried by the same vehicle. Command post is based on the Ural-532301 8×8 truck. Reloading vehicle is based on the Ural-532301 8×8 chassis. The same vehicle can also reload older S-300PMU2 air defense missile systems.

   There is also a mobile version of the S-400. Its TEL was demonstrated on the MZKT-7930 and BAZ-6909 chassis with 8×8 configuration. A mobile TEL has better cross-country mobility and shorter redeployment time. Production of the mobile version commenced in 2014. Initially 24 units were ordered. However for some reason these early production mobile S-400 launchers are based on the older MAZ-543M 8×8 chassis.

Variants of S-400 Defense Systems

  S-500 long-range air defense and anti-ballistic missile system. Currently it is being developed in Russia. It is described as an upgraded version of the S-400.

   Cheolmae-2, a simplified version of the S-400, under development in South Korea.

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