According to Insider, the finest air defence system in the world is Russia’s S-400 Triumf, also known as SA-21 in the NATO alliance. It is claimed that this missile complex can shoot down any adversary, including fighters, drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles.
The Russian missile complex reportedly includes a radar system that can detect the greatest stealth jets in the world, has a maximum range of up to 400 km and a maximum height of 50 km. America. The S-400’s greatest strength, however, lies in its capacity to simultaneously lock down 300 targets and eliminate 36 of them. Additionally, the S-400 can shoot down strategic missiles with a 3,500 km range, nearly four times more than the US Patriot system.
But is the S-400 truly “invincible” as the Russian Defense Ministry claimed? Western military specialists have verified that the S-400 is not indestructible but it is still a functional air defence system through tests and a small number of real battle reports. good.
Advanced S-400 radar technology
Although the S-400 air defence complex’s development is thought to have started in the 1980s, it wasn’t made public until 1993. Budget restrictions resulted in the complex’s structural similarities to S-300’s predecessor being reduced to 70%. The S-400’s contemporary radar system, enhanced control software, and most cutting-edge missiles make up the bulk of the difference.
The S-400 complex’s resistance to high-tech assaults is another notable quality. Nebo-M radar on the S-400 can quickly switch frequencies to prevent jamming and enhance its capacity to follow swiftly moving targets thanks to electronic countermeasures. Nebo-M is not only excellent in electronic warfare, but the Russian Defense Ministry also declared that it can take on even the most advanced stealth jets, like the US F-35.
In essence, high frequency C, X, and K radars, which are capable of producing precise images for cruise missiles to identify targets, are what stealth fighters are designed to deal with. They don’t use low-frequency radars like L and S, though, because they can’t offer precise information for air defence systems to “latch on” to the target.
Nebo-M has three radar arrays operating simultaneously at various frequencies to address this issue. Detecting the existence of stealth fighters is the primary function of two of these low-frequency radars, Nebo SVU in the VHF band and Protivnik G in the L band. Of course, they cannot give precise cruise missile positions and photos, but the Nebo-M can successfully track cruise missiles when coupled to the X-frequency Gamma S1 radar. he Nebo-M can effectively track stealth aircraft. , even the target key.
What will happen when the S-400 and the F-35 engage in combat?
Russia claimed that the Nebo-low-frequency M’s radars can identify the F-117 Nighthawk stealth jet at a distance of 350 km under normal circumstances and at a distance of 72 km if jammed in a paper that was published in 2014. The “Night Falcon” can be easily detected because the anti-reflection radar cross section of the F-117 is unusually large—double that of the F-35 and thirty times that of the F-22.
Military specialists claimed that if F-117 is used as the reference frame, the S-400 may be able to lock the target on the F-35, but only if the fighter is 32 kilometres distant from the missile complex. Because of the radar-killing stealth missile technology (AARGM-ER), which relies on the idea of radar frequency monitoring, if the S-400 can’t hit its target at a distance beyond this, the F-35 will win virtually entirely. access source Even when the air defence system disables the broadcast radars, the missile mounted on the F-35 has an average range of 96 km, meaning it can locate and take out the S-400 from a safe distance.
The S-400 is most effective when used in conjunction with the Integrated Air Defense Network, therefore in practise there won’t be a one-on-one combat (IADS). Because of the Russian complex’s assistance from aerial reconnaissance and warning aircraft as well as other air defence systems operating in the same network, the F-35 will have challenges in this situation.
The simplest method for defeating the S-400
Although the S-400 is a good air defence system, it nevertheless has the same fundamental flaw as all other mobile air defence systems: a finite supply of ammunition. A Russian S-400 unit typically includes 8 launchers, each of which is outfitted with 4 different types of missiles. It can only intercept up to 32 targets before running out of ammunition, despite contemporary technology.
So, the simplest approach to take out an S-400 complex is to launch more missiles than the defence system is capable of stopping. Another strategy that can be employed is to launch a mass suicide drone assault that just costs a few thousand dollars. Current air defence systems cannot intercept a missile with a minimum speed of Mach 5 due to the rapid development of hypersonic weaponry, and the S-400 is no exception. rate.