S-400

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by AJSINGH, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. AJSINGH

    AJSINGH Senior Member Senior Member

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    Background

    The Almaz S-300P/S-400 family of Surface to Air Missile systems is without doubt the most capable SAM system in widespread use in the Asia Pacific region. From its genesis during the 1970s this former Soviet PVO system has continuously evolved, through a series of incremental and larger enhancements.

    At this time the PLA is the largest single user of this family of weapons, after the Russian Federation which inherited the considerable inventory operated by the Voyska PVO.

    While the S-300P/S-400 series is often labelled as 'Russia's Patriot', the system in many key respects is more capable than the US Patriot series, and in later variants offers mobility performance and thus survivability much better than that of the Patriot. The introduction of the 64N6 Big Bird series of phased array acquisition radars in later variants provides them with many of the capabilities of the US SPY-1 Aegis system, in a highly mobile SAM system.

    From an Australian perspective the deployment of large numbers of the S-300P/S-400 family of missiles in Asia is of major concern. Rapidly deployable, high survivable, and highly lethal, these weapons are especially difficult to counter and require significant capabilities to robustly defeat. The US Air Force currently envisages the F-22A Raptor as the primary weapon used to defeat these capable systems.

    It is important to note that no F/A-18 variant, nor the Joint Strike Fighter, were designed to penetrate the coverage of the S-300P/S-400 systems. The survivability of these aircraft will not be significantly better than that of legacy combat aircraft.
    Strategic Context


    Both the Almaz S-300P/S-400 (SA-10, SA-20) and Antey S-300V (SA-12) SAM systems grew out of the disappointments of Vietnam and the Yom Kippur wars, where single digit S-75/SA-2, S-125/SA-3 and 3M9/SA-6 series SAMs were soundly defeated in combat by the US and Israelis respectively. Designed for the high density battlespace of late Cold War central Europe, the S-300P and S-300V series of SAMs represent the pinnacle of Soviet Cold War era SAM technology, with no effort spared to push the technological envelope. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, both systems have continued to evolve, benefitting immeasurably from large scale access to Western technology markets, and Western computational technology to support further design effort. Against the current benchmark in Western SAM technology, the Raytheon Patriot PAC-3 system, both the S-300P and S-300V series remain highly competitive.
    It should come as no surprise that the US publicly expressed concerns about the possibility of Serbia and Iraq acquiring these systems prior to the OAF and OIF air campaigns - the presence of these systems could have dramatically changed the nature of both air campaigns. With superb missile kinematics, high power-aperture phased array radar capability, high jam resistance and high mobility, the S-300P series and S-300V would have required unusually intense defence suppression effort, changing the character and duration of both air campaigns. The political fracas surrounding the Cypriot order for S-300PMU1, and the long standing intent of both North Korea and Iran to purchase large numbers of late model S-300P underscore this point.

    In US terminology, the double digit S-300P series and S-300V systems represent anti-access capabilities - designed to make it unusually difficult if not impossible to project air power into defended airspace. The B-2A and F/A-22A were both developed with these threat systems in mind, and are still considered to be the only US systems capable of robustly defeating these weapons. The technique for defeating them is a combination of wideband all aspect stealth and highly sensitive radio-frequency ESM receivers, combined with offboard sources of near-realtime Intelligence Surveillance Reconaissance (ISR) data on system locations.

    Aircraft with no stealth, reduced RCS capabilities, or limited aspect stealth, such as the F-15E, F-16C, F/A-18E/F, Eurofighter Typhoon and JSF are all presented with the reality that high to medium altitude penetration incurs a very highly risk of engagement by either of these weapon systems. It is perhaps ironic that the only reliable defence for aircraft lacking top tier all aspect stealth capability is high speed low altitude terrain masking using Terrain Following Radar, supplemented by offboard near-realtime ISR data, support jamming and standoff missiles. Australia's F-111s, if used cleverly, are arguably much more survivable against this class of technology than the vast majority of newer types in service - it should come as no surprise that the Bundes-Luftwaffe in Germany developed the terrain following Tornado ECR Wild Weasel precisely around this regime of attack on the SA-10/20/12.

    That the Canberra DoD leadership opted four years ago to wholly ignore the regional arrival of the S-300P/S-300V series SAMs in their long term force structure planning is nothing less than remarkable and raises some very serious questions about how well the capabilities of these systems are actually understood in the halls of Russell Offices. Despite repeated proposals by a great many parties, there are no plans to equip the RAAF with anti-radiation missiles or support jamming aircraft, there is an ongoing drive for early F-111 retirement, and the F/A-22A Raptor, the US solution to the S-300P/S-300V problem, is generally dismissed as being too good for Australia.

    Unlike Sukhoi Su-27/30 fighters which many expect will require a robust support infrastructure, intensive training, good tactics and talented fighter pilots to operate, all taking time to mature into a viable capability, the S-300P/S-300V series SAMs were designed for austere support environments, to be operated and maintained largely by Soviet era conscripts. Therefore the integration of these weapons into wider and nearer regional force structures will not incur the delays and difficulties expected by some observers with the Sukhois. A package of S-300P/S-300V batteries could be operationally viable within months of deployment in the region, and earlier if contract Russian or Ukrainian personnel are hired to bring them online faster. The notion of fifteen years warning time looks a little absurd, given that these systems can proliferate and operationally mature as capabilities within one to two years.

    With the first generation of these SAMs deployed during the early 1980s, currently marketed variants are third and fourth generation evolutions of the basic design, mature systems built with characteristic Russian robustness and simplicity where possible.

    In recent years the accelerated marketing tempo of the desperate Russian industry has seen a surprisingly large amount of detailed technical material on these weapons appear in the public domain, with publications like Military Parade, Vestnik PVO and Russkaya Sila posting detailed summaries and data on Internet websites, albeit mostly accessible only to readers of Russian. Other former Warpac nations have also been surprisingly open in sharing information on these weapons. Given the availability of this data it is now possible to compile more comprehensive analyses of these weapons, than of equivalent US products such as the Patriot. This analysis is based largely upon Russian sources.
    The arrival of S-300P and S-300V missile systems in the region radically changes the strategic environment, both from the perspective of the US and Australia. These highly capable systems are not invincible, but require significant investment into capabilities to defeat them - prohibitive losses in aircraft and aircrew otherwise might occur. As they are less demanding to operate than modern combat aircraft, operators across the broader region will be able to achieve combat effective proficiency faster than with the Su-27/30. In practical terms the S-300P/S-300V SAMs are a viable deterrent against air forces without the technological and intellectual capital to tackle them - and in many respects better value for money than the Su-27/30. Their failure to sell in larger numbers reflects more than anything poor marketing by Russia's industry.

    The US Air Force's approach to defeating these SAMs is conceptually simple: the F/A-22A exploiting its all aspect wideband stealth, supercruise, high altitude and sensitive ESM warning capability will kill the engagement and acquisition radars using guided weapons. High power standoff support jamming will be provided by B-52H aircraft equipped with electronically steerable high power jamming pods, and standoff ISR support will be provided by systems such as the RC-135V/W, E-8C and new E-10 MC2A. Standoff or highly stealthy ISR capabilities will be necessary - the current generation of high altitude UAVs like the RQ-1B and RQ-4A are not survivable in airspace covered by the S-300P/S-300V systems.

    Conventional unstealthy, or partially stealthy combat aircraft will have difficulty surviving within the coverage of the S-300P/S-300V systems - the high transmit power, large radar and missile seeker apertures, low sidelobes, generous use of monopulse angle tracking and extensive ECCM features make these systems difficult to jam effectively. Self protection jammers will need to produce relatively high X-band power output, and exploit monopulse angle tracking deception techniques - Digital RF Memory techniques with high signal fidelity are nearly essential. Even so the challenges in defeating these systems with a self protection jammer are not trivial - raw power-aperture does matter in this game.

    In practical terms, low level terrain masking to remain below the radar horizon of these systems, combined with good standoff ISR, support jamming and a low radar signature standoff missile, is the only reliable defence for an aircraft with anything greater than insect sized all aspect radar signature. For instance the JSF's forward sector stealth is likely to be adequate, but its aft and beam sector stealth performance will not be, especially considering the wavelengths of many of the radars in question - a JSF driver runs a real risk of taking a 3,000 lb hypersonic SAM up his tailpipe if he cannot kill the target SAM engagement radar in his first pass. For the JSF, integration of a terrain following radar mode in its AESA radar is not an unusual technical challenge, incurring only modest development cost. The bigger bite will be in shortened airframe fatigue life resulting from fast low level penetration with a modestly swept wing design.

    Of the current crop of fighters in Western service, the most survivable are those with good TFRs - the F-111, Tornado and F-15E if fitted with the LANTIRN TFR pod - all requiring a high performance EW suite.

    A weakness of both the S-300P/S-300V systems is that they are severely radar horizon limited in a fully mobile configuration. The addition of mast mounted acquisition radars to extend their low level footprint severely impairs the mobility of the battery.

    The popular idea of shooting cruise missiles, anti-radiation missiles or standoff missiles at the S-300P/S-300V battery, assuming its location is known, is only viable where such a weapon has a sufficiently low radar signature to penetrate inside the minimum engagement range of the SAM before being detected - anything less will see the inbound missile killed by a self defensive SAM shot. The current Russian view of this is to sell Tor M1/SA-15 Gauntlet and Pantsir S1/S2 / SA-22 self-propelled point defence SAM systems as a rapid reaction close in defensive system to protect the S-300P/S-300V battery by shooting down the incoming missile if it gets past the S-300P/S-300V SAMs.

    In summary, current RAAF force structure plans do not provide for a robust long term capability to defeat the S-300P/S-300V class of SAMs - weapons which are very likely to be encountered during coalition operations, and most likely, regional operations over the coming two or more decades. If the RAAF wishes to remain competitive in this developing regional environment, further intellectual and material investment will be needed.
    http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-Grumble-Gargoyle.html:goodstuff:
     
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  3. AJSINGH

    AJSINGH Senior Member Senior Member

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    India should acquire S-400,as it is formidible sam system and cost effective
     
  4. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    India was the first country to conduct trails the S-400, but Govt or IA did not like it.
    but wiki says India expressed interest in S-400.
     
  5. AJSINGH

    AJSINGH Senior Member Senior Member

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    dont know why IA did not like S-400 ,it is like IAF to say that we dont like F-22A,who knows the reason behind that
     
  6. venom

    venom DFI Technocrat

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    Its not a credible source......The range of S-400 is around 400 kms which is above the Permitted limit by MTCR[300 kms] hence the system cannot b exported.
     
  7. VayuSena1

    VayuSena1 Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    MTCR is a joke. If it was that important and sincerely followed, Pakistan wouldn't be having any strategic weapons right now. It was never followed to begin with. None of the permanent members of security council considered following it. All the rules starting from Nuclear Suppliers Group to MTCR signatories start because India does something.

    I think our government should take steps in tightening their grip on our exports outside which effect these powers the most and rather focus on domestic infrastructure by channeling those products inside the country rather than sending them off somewhere else.

    Sometimes, it is really heart-breaking to see that the government is unable to oppose any of these powers and put its foot down simply due to self-imposed inaction.
     
  8. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    Why, because it is just a modernised S-300. The advertised missile with range of 400km is still in development. They are still using S-300 interceptors for it. At the rate of Russian development failures, this system will never operate as said. S-500 is the new priority and General Zelin is not too happy with its progress.
     
  9. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    india already operates S-300 and its performance was not as in other countries so they are wary one aspect of the s-300 not performing well in india might be something to do with extreme indian climate moreover indo-israeli sam system is in development

    regarding s-400 the best part is the use of large phased array radar only 2 such systems have been deployed so russia is willing to develop quite a lot by 2015 but production rates are slow in due time s-400 would be mature and well received all over the world
     
  10. jakojako777

    jakojako777 Senior Member Senior Member

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    russia is willing to develop quite a lot by 2015 but production rates are slow

    There are 2 new factories planned to be built which will speed up very much building of S-400 systems
    I have posted that on - "Russian Defence Forum/ Russian military development"
    there are 2 new articles on S-400, S-500
    here and next page !

    http://www.defenceforum.in/forum/russian-defence-forum/4275-russian-military-developments-18.html

    BTW hmm... why is S-400 thread not in Russian defense section but in "India's Defense & Military / Bombs / Missiles / WMD > S-400 "?!?
     

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