7 Glorious Facts about S-400 That Makes it a Power Machine

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When India inked the deal for S-400 Truimf Air Defence Systems from Russia, defence circles and forums when berserk and was all praise for the deal. Even before the signing, there were some real doubts whether it will fall through due to the US’s CAATSA policy. However, no actions from the US side has been reported yet and the age-oldIndo-Russian friendship has touched new heights.

It was imperative for India to get the deal signed. Growing tensions with China and Pakistan escalated the need.

In this article, we present some interesting and wondrous facts about the most lethal Air Defence System currently in service anywhere in the world.

You must know these seven facts about S-400-

1. Range: The operational range of the system is ver 400km. It employs different missiles to fill its performance envelopes. The 40N6 (400km) for Very-Long Range Interception, 48N6 (250km) for Long Range Interception, 9M96E2 (120 km) for Medium-Range Interception and the 9M96E (40 km) for Short Range Interception. This means, Indian S400s are deployed near the borders can actually deny airspace over neighbouring nations, although such a scenario won’t happen unless we are in a war.

An infographic released by BBC, showing how the S400 system deployed in Syria secured almost half of Syria’s airspace

The range varies for different RCS aircraft. Heavy bombers can be detected and targeted at 570km, for targets with RCS no less than 4m^2 – 390km and for ballistic targets (speeds over 4000m/s) and targets with RCS > 0.4m^2 – 230km.

2. Stealth Aircraft Detection: The most striking and sought-after feature of the S-400 is its innate ability to track and target stealth targets. Even though this claim is under questioning by experts, the Russian Protivinik-GE is an advanced UHF Anti-Stealth radar integrated into the S400 radar systems. The S400 also employs Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) rather than the conventional PESA(Passive) radars. This factor definitely ups the working capability of the system.

F-35’s detection range against various Russian radar systems. The KBR Vostok-E has achieved a range of 400km which is used in S-300. It is safe to assume that S400 too will have similar detection range against modern generation fighters. Credits: ausairpower.net

3. Morpheus: Even though the S400 is a very capable air defence system, in an event of salvo missile fire at it, some could find their way through the defence and potentially strike the system. So, Russians are developing a secondary defence system, 42S6 Morfey, for S40o’s security against low altitude missiles at their terminal phases.

42S6 Morfey. Credits in pic

4. Simultaneous Tracking and Guiding: It is claimed by the Russians that the system can easily track up to 300 aerodynamic targets at full power. The engagement number is also said to be near but it would be wise to say near 150 is a good number. The data out there is not yet unreliable, so most are just approximations.

The system can guide multiple missiles at the same time, possibly up to 72 missiles. Multiple guidance will allow the system to achieve a greater kill ratio as for a fighter, dodging a single missile would be hard but dodging more than one would be nearly impossible.

S400 System Structure. Credits: sputniknews.com

5. Very High Kill Probability: The kill probability of the missiles of S400 system is sure to send shivers down the spine of enemy fighter pilots. As per reports, 9M96 and
9M96E2 missiles for medium and short range defence has scored a kill probability of 0.9 against aircraft (not stealth), 0.8 against UAVs, and 0.7 against missiles. The kill probability is sure to rise with its very advanced homing systems.

6. Quick Deployment: The S400 system, even though consists of multiple radar systems and command centre, requires minimal time for active deployment. The S400 system can be deployed in the battlefield in under 5 minutes and can be deployed in under 3 minutes in Standby mode. The system integrates high levels of automation which reduces the system’s response time considerably.

7. Versatile Targeting: The system is capable of targeting and destroying targets ranging from simple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Long range ballistic missiles. The radar systems can easily manage targets and guide the missiles to targets with maximum velocities of Mach 14 (4800m/s). These velocities are achieved by ballistic missiles during their re-entry phase and with a very high altitude envelope (~40km), S400 can engage them before the missiles hit their targets.