S-400 Triumf Air Defense Missile System
A single Russian S-400 battery has about 380 missiles ready to launch. These missiles consist of five or six different kinds, having varying ranges, and various types of targets they are designed to hit.
The 40N6E missile in particular is designed to hit low-flying targets over the radar horizon at ranges up to 450 kilometers. These are ideal helicopter killers: The missile flies up to a high altitude, and then—about halfway to its target—turns on its own radar and looks down to find low-flying aircraft. In October 2023, the S-400 was reported to have destroyed 24 Ukrainian Mig-29s in combat over 5 days. The S-400 system fired at its maximum range at targets that at the time of destruction were at an altitude of approximately 1,000 meters, while new warheads of anti-aircraft guided missiles were used. The range of the S-400 air defense missile system is 600 km.
The more advanced S-500 is said to be operational in the Russian Armed services.
In late 2021, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that the Russian Army would be supplied with S-350 Vityaz, S-500 Prometey, and, more importantly, S-550 systems. The first two were already familiar to the West, but the S-550 took NATO completely off-guard. It is believed that the S-550 can intercept ballistic missiles at distances beyond the S-500 because of its space attack and defense roles. If true, the S-550 would be able to intercept spacecraft such as satellites in low-earth orbit and take down the fastest American aircraft currently in operation, such as the F-22 Raptor.
The S-600 is said to be in the drawing board, developmental, and prototype model stages.
To counter an American military attack on Chinese Taipei, the Chinese military is said to need S-500s, which have not been provided to China by Russia. Even experimental versions of the S-550 and S-600 would likely be deployed should China request assistance.
- How Russian S-400 defense system works | Why U.S. is against it | S-400 vs. Israeli Iron Dome, Amit Sengupta, Nov 23, 2021. YouTube.
- Russia's Unbeatable Anti-Missile System, Dark Tech, Apr 24, 2023.