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S-400 Air Defence Missile System

Ukraine recently said it destroyed a Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system on the Crimean peninsula, S-400 Air Defence Missile System....


Ukraine recently said it destroyed a Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system on the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.

About S-400 Air Defence Missile System:

  • The S-400 Triumf (NATO: SA-21 Growler) is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system.
  • It is one of the world’s most advanced air defence systems that can simultaneously track numerous incoming objects.
  • It was developed by the Almaz Central Design Bureau of Russia.
  • The system entered service in April 2007, and the first S-400 was deployed in combat in August 2007.
  • India signed a US$ 5.5 billion deal with Russia in October 2018 to acquire five S-400 systems.

Components of the S-400 function?

The S-400 Missile System comes with an integrated multifunction radar with autonomous detection and targeting systems. It also consists of anti-air missiles launchers and command and control missiles It is capable of firing the following missiles for a layered defence

  1. 48N6DM: Capable of destroying airborne targets upo 250 km
  2. 40N6: Claimed to reach a distance of 400 km, it uses active radar homing to intercept air targets at great distances.
  3. 9M96E: This missile can strike moving targets such as fighter aircraft with great accuracy.
  4. 9M96E2: A medium range air-to-air missile variant of the 9M96E, it is descended for direct impact. Both the variants of the 9m96 missile is 102 km

The system is also capable of exchanging data with other defence systems such as SA-12, SA-23, and S-300.

The radar can detect and track aircraft, rotorcraft, cruise missiles, guided missiles, drones and ballistic rockets within a distance of 600km. It can simultaneously track up to 300 targets.

Facts about the S-400

  • In 2017, the S-400 was described by a number of military technology experts as “one of the best air-defence systems currently made”
  • Types of targets include all kinds of aircrafts from fighter jets such as the F-16 to Ballistic and strategic cruise missiles.
  • System response time 9–10 seconds
  • The complex can move on roads at 60 km/h (37 mph) and off-road at speeds up to 25 km/h (16 mph).
  • According to the Pravda, the Russian state newspaper, the price of one battalion (about 7–8 launchers) is US$200 million.

India and the S-400

On 15 October 2016, during the BRICS Summit, India and Russia signed an Inter-governmental Agreement (IGA) for the supply of five S-400 regiments. The US$5.43 billion deal (₹40,000 crore) was formally signed on 5 October 2018, ignoring the threat of US sanctions.

The S-400 was chosen because of its versatile, accurate and multi-faceted capabilities in comparison to the missile systems offered by the USA.

The United States threatened India with sanctions over India’s decision to buy the S-400 missile defense system from Russia because India chose S-400 over American origin Patriot PAC 3.

One reason for American apprehension would be that S-400 collects electronic data from any aircraft it targets. Since India also operates American-made aircrafts such as the AH-64E Apache attack helicopter and the C-17 Globemaster heavy transport aircraft, it cannot risk the data of these aircraft somehow falling into the hands of its erstwhile Russian rivals.

Despite such reservations from its American partners, India has announced that it will go forward with its commitment in buying the S-400 from Russia, despite the threat of sanctions looming.

MCQs about S-400 Air Defence Missile System

Question 1: What is the primary capability of the S-400 Triumf air defense system?

A) Ground-based missile defense

B) Anti-tank warfare

C) Anti-submarine warfare

D) Surface-to-surface missile system

Question 2: Which country recently claimed to have destroyed a Russian S-400 system on the Crimean peninsula?

A) Russia

B) China

C) Ukraine

D) United States

Question 3: What is the maximum range of the 40N6 missile used in the S-400 system?

A) 250 km

B) 400 km

C) 102 km

D) 600 km

Question 4: Why did India choose the S-400 Triumf over American-made missile defense systems?

A) The S-400 is cheaper than American systems

B) The S-400 has better anti-tank capabilities

C) The S-400 offers versatile and accurate multi-faceted capabilities

D) The S-400 is easier to operate

Read also:- Agni-1 Missile

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