MOSCOW – A large arsenal of mid- and short-range missiles, simultaneous monitoring of dozens of aircraft and nearly 100% accuracy – the new S-350 Vityaz systems will protect Russia’s strategic industrial cities and infrastructures. This year it begins its production in series and the supply to the army.
The state tests of the S-350s were conducted with great success. By the end of the year it is planned that the first system will be routed to the anti-aircraft training center in Leningrad region. The military is expected to have professional capabilities to work with the S-350s, which are designed to replace S-300PS systems, which are still highly efficient but are no longer new.
The S-350 Vityaz system was developed by the company Almaz-Antey in the first half of the 2000s. The system consists of a self-propelled missile launch vehicle, a full-coverage radar with electronic space scanning and a command station installed in the chassis of the BAZ special vehicle. The S-350 Vityaz fires medium-range ground-to-air missiles used in the S-400 system, as well as short-range missiles.
“The Armed Forces have a large number of S-300Ps and S-300PSs, they constitute about 50 divisions.The term of service of these systems has run out, they will be replaced by the S-350, an anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense system mid-range with an increased ammunition reserve,” said the editor of Arsenal magazine Otechestva (Arsenal of the Motherland, in Russian), Viktor Murakhovsky in the interview.
Vityaz can be equipped with two types of missiles. The first is the 9М100, which is intended for neutralization of any ballistic and aerodynamic objects within a radius of 120 km. However, target speeds can reach 4.8 km per second, which is typical for tactical-class and tactical-operational missiles.
The second is the 9М96, which can intercept targets within a 15 km radius. “These are, as a rule, objects that fly at low altitude, such as cruise missiles, drones, etc. The speed of the target to be neutralized can reach 1000 meters per second.”As an anti-aircraft defense system, this is a modern system that is significantly cheaper than the S-400,” added Murakhovsky. .
A special role
The ammunition reserve of each Vityaz division includes 144 missiles, which more than doubled the S-300PS arsenal. The multifunctional radar is capable of simultaneously tracking up to one hundred targets. Each S-350 can annihilate up to 16 aerodynamic targets (airplanes, cruise missiles or drones) or 12 ballistic missiles (tactical or tactical-missile warheads).
“The S-350 is a very fire-resistant and interference-resistant system designed to shoot at an enemy that carries out a high-density attack at low altitude. We can talk about intercepting dozens of aircraft per minute. S-350 has its own space among armaments of this type, they are more a complement than a substitute for Buk,” explained analyst Mikhail Khodarenok said.
According to him, currently the Russian Aerospace Force has two types of air defense systems – S-400 and S-300PM in different modifications. Both systems are far-reaching and operate more or less in the same range, which is not always justifiable in protecting important infrastructures.
“Of course the long range is important, but it does not have such great relevance in combat,” he said.
“As powerful and effective as radar is, a target flying at extremely low altitudes will be detected by radar only within a radius of 25-30 km. In this case, a rapid reaction and a large fire potential are most needed, and it is which distinguishes the S-350,” added the analyst.
A reliable shield
The Russian Ministry of Defense pays great attention to anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense. It is worth noting that the S-400 has a high demand not only in Russia, but also abroad. These systems are capable of annihilating aerodynamic targets at distances up to 300 km and ballistic targets – up to 60 km. The US is trying to force Turkey to stop buying the S-400, threatening sanctions and canceling the supply of the fifth-generation F-35 fighters. However, despite all obstacles, Turkey will receive the first batch of S-400 systems as early as July.