Asia Defense

A2/AD Threat: Russian Army Adds 2nd S-400 Regiment in 2016

By the end of the year, the Russian military will field a total of 16 S-400 air defense system regiments.

A2/AD Threat: Russian Army Adds 2nd S-400 Regiment in 2016
Credit: wikimedia commons/Aleksy Torysin

Last month, the Russian military took delivery of a new S-400 Triumf advanced Air Defense System (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) regiment, according to local media reports. It is the second S-400 regiment to be inducted into the ranks of the Russian Army in 2016 and will further boost Russia’s so called anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capability. (S-400 units have so far been deployed to Kaliningrad along the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea region, Syria covering the eastern Mediterranean Sea, as well as in Russia’s Far East.)

Three additional S-400 regiments are slated for delivery by the end of 2016, according to an official in the Russian defense industry, which will bring up the total number of S-400 regiments to 16. One S-400 regiment is divided into two battalions. Each battalion consists of eight launchers and 32 missiles in addition to acquisition and engagement radar systems and a command post.

In comparison to its predecessor, the S-300, the S-400 air defense system features an improved radar system and updated software; it can purportedly can fire four new types of surface-to-air (SAM) missiles in addition to the S-300’s 48N6E, a vertical tube launched, solid fuel, single stage SAM with an estimated range of 150 kilometers (93 miles), and the improved 48N6E2 missile with a reported range of 195 kilometers (121 miles).

One of the S-400’s new missiles is the so-called 40N6 SAM with an estimated operational range of 400 kilometers (248.5 miles) and an altitude of up to 185 kilometers (607,000 feet). The missile is reportedly capable of exo-atmospheric interception of intermediate-range ballistic missile warheads in their terminal phase. However, it is unclear whether the weapon is operational in Russia yet and no images of the 40N6 SAM have surfaced so far.

The S-400 is also armed with an improved variant of the 48N6E2 with an alleged range of 250 kilometers (160 miles). The air defense system can also fire two additional missiles, the 9M96E and 9M96E2 with respective ranges of 40 km (25 miles) and 120 km (75 miles). Improved S-300 air defense systems such as the S-300PMU-2 Favorite (sold to Iran), can purportedly also fire the 9M96E and 9M96E2.

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The S-400 can purportedly fire missiles at a rate 2.5 times faster than its predecessor, the S-300. It can engage stand-off jammer aircraft, Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, and both ballistic and cruise missiles in an electronic countermeasures environment. Russia is also working on a newer long-range air defense system, the S-500 Prometheus, which will specifically be designed to intercept up to ten ballistic missiles simultaneously.