Asia Defense

Russia Delivers 1st S-400 Missile Defense Regiment to China

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Asia Defense

Russia Delivers 1st S-400 Missile Defense Regiment to China

The first complete Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile unit has reportedly been delivered to China.

Russia has delivered the first regimental set of S-400 Triumf advanced interceptor-based Air Defense Systems (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) to China under a 2014 government-to-government contract, an unnamed Russian official told TASS news agency on April 3.

“Two vessels have delivered the first regimental set of S-400s from the port of Ust-Lug, Leningrad Region, to China within the time limit established by the contract,” the source said. “It includes a command post, radar stations, launching stations, energy equipment [sic] and other property.”

Additionally, the source noted that part of the S-400 equipment destined for China has been damaged during transport and returned to Russia: “The work continues, and the missing equipment is expected to be delivered to the customer in the summer.”

China placed an order for four to six Russian-made S-400 regimental units in 2014 for an estimated $3 billion. The exact number of S-400 units to be delivered has not been publicly confirmed to date. It is also unclear what missile types Russia has sold to China for the air defense systems.

As I explained in February:

The standard S-400 battery consists of four transporter erector launchers (TELs), four launch tubes per TEL, in addition to target acquisition and engagement (fire control) radar systems and a command post. (With an additional fire control radar system, a battery can consist of up to 12 TELs.) Two batteries make up a S-400 battalion (also known as a S-400 division), whereas a S-400 regiment consists of two battalions.

Consequently, China could receive anywhere between 60 to over 200 TELs including missiles and associated equipment. The S-400 Triumf is one of the world’s most advanced interceptor-based missile defense systems, as I explained elsewhere:

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 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 … can purportedly also fire the 9M96E and 9M96E2.

Russia has recently deployed additional S-400 units to its Far Eastern region, specifically the vicinity of Vladivostok, homeport of the Russian Pacific Fleet, in order to protect its expanding naval presence in the Asia-Pacific region from aerial threats.