General, Research, Technology

What is the difference between the S-300 and the S-400 and what other air defense systems are

Recently, more and more often in the press, the Internet,on radio or on TV you can hear about the S-300 and S-400 systems. On the one hand, everything is logical. The S-400 is probably better, since the number is larger, that's just the better it is, how much better and better is it at all? And after all, there is the S-500, the American Patriot and some other air defense systems. Let's see how they differ and what serious uncles in uniform say when they appeal with these names.

Such a thing can bring down almost any rocket.


  • 1 What is air defense?
  • 2 What is the difference between air defense and missile defense
  • 3 Air Defense History
  • 4 How is the S-300 different from the S-400?
  • 5 What is the complex S-500
  • 6 What are the air defense systems

What is air defense?

To begin, let's decide what is generallyAir defense. Almost certainly everyone understands what is at stake, but when it comes to decryption, here, as my literature teacher said, “who cares.” In fact, decryption follows from the purpose of these systems.

Air defense systems - short for "air defense". This is a set of measures to provide protection (defense) from enemy air attack weapons.

Similar systems should automatically orsemi-automatic mode to combat any threat posed by flying objects, whether it be missiles, planes or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). First of all, these are just defensive systems, but in rare cases they can be configured to work on ground targets. True, their effectiveness in this case will be very low, and for these purposes it is better to use separate systems designed specifically for this.

A little earlier we already talked about means of attack. Namely, cruise and ballistic missiles. It turns out that they are not as simple as they seem, and they have a lot of differences that no one knows about

The most famous air defense systems includeS-300 and S-400, standing on alert duty in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, China, Kazakhstan and some other countries. In NATO countries, Patriot complexes manufactured by the USA are very popular. There are less well-known complexes, such as the Iranian Bavar-373 and the Israeli I-Dome.

Iranian Air Defense Complex Bavar-373

A complex air defense system is called becauseIt includes not only a system for hitting enemy flying targets, but also early detection systems. Most often, the system itself is located on a mobile platform and can quickly be relocated to another combat area. It is also very convenient when deploying a temporary base in a remote area. For example, Russian and American air defense systems, which cover the corresponding bases in the Syrian Arab Republic.

What is the difference between air defense and missile defense

Often you can find the mention of two systems with different abbreviations. Someone calls air defense systems, and someone calls missile defense. The truth, as usual, is somewhere in between.

The definition of air defense was already given above, and the definition of missile defense is as follows:

Missile defense (ABM) - complexreconnaissance, radioengineering and fire-fighting events designed to protect (defend) protected objects from missile weapons. Missile defense is very closely related to air defense and is often carried out by the same systems.

Based on the definitions, it turns out that the air defenseis it just an extended version of missile defense? Not certainly in that way. There are still slight differences and specifics, but in general the systems have a similar purpose, just missile defense is used to combat missiles, and air defense works on all air targets, including drones, bombers, transporters and fighters.

I don’t want to bring down such beauty. Unless you know what she brings to you.

In the philistine representation of the missile defense systemthey are only systems for combating intercontinental missiles. In fact, their application is not limited only to this direction. For example, protective tank and ship missile defense systems are also included in the missile defense system, like airborne defense systems.

According to the level of coverage, missile defense systems are divided intoterritorial, zonal and object. The former protect the entire territory of the country, the latter protect a certain region, and the latter are needed to protect specific objects or units of military equipment.

History of Air Defense

Now air defense systems basically have rocketfocus. At first it was rifle systems. For example, the first Russian system to combat air targets was created back in 1891 and consisted of shrapnel guns.

This year in Krasnoye Selo took placeThe first tests of systems against air targets. Shooting was carried out on balloons tied to the horses, which pulled them. The effectiveness of the system was noted as high, but it was decided to create a specialized tool to protect the airspace.

Sometimes a plane becomes a rocket: Little-known facts about kamikaze

So in 1914, the first 76 mm gun appeareddubbed the 3-inch anti-air gun of Lender or Tarnovsky — Lender or 8-K. In the same year, after the formation of the first air defense corps in Petrograd, it is believed that the air defense forces appeared.

It looked like the first gun, specially designed to deal with air targets.

The first guns could fight objects,located at an altitude of up to 3,000 meters. Then it was the maximum flight altitude of airplanes. They were installed on two lines from the city. The first is at a distance of 30-40 km, and the second is at a distance of 6-15 km.

Naturally, no early warning systemsthen there was no way out and the only way to determine the approach of an airplane was observers. For early detection, reconnaissance and wiretapping of enemy negotiations was used. Later, such a system was called the “Radio Telegraph Defense of Petrograd”.

During World War II, air defensespace applied by all parties to the conflict. Often these were powerful machine guns, which showed their great effectiveness in such conditions. Especially when it was necessary to cover the infantry. The systems were mounted on self-propelled guns and successfully covered troops from air attacks. Manually controlled machine guns were preferred, despite having the simplest homing systems at the time. They were the simplest because of their infancy. In fact, they were very difficult for that time and could determine the direction of approach of the enemy aircraft.

As an example of the effectiveness of air defense of that time, we can cite the fact that the Allies lost, according to various estimates, about 40,000 units of aircraft. All of them were shot down by German air defense.

How is the S-300 different from the S-400?

As with rockets, obsolescence systemsair defense is not so pronounced. For example, S-300 systems were developed and adopted in the early 80s of the last century. Of course, they were modified more than once and received improvements, but still they are already very many years old. During this time they received both the land and ship versions and were delivered to a large number of countries. Some of them are still on alert duty.

You can even note that some modifications,like the S-300PMU2 Favorit, are still being delivered to some armies of the world and, on the whole, can even successfully fight fourth-generation fighters. The fifth generation is unlikely to be tough for them because of the wide capabilities of the radar control of these aircraft.

The machine of the S-300 complex in motion

The route of entry of S-400 Triumph systems toarmament began in 2007. The complex was developed as a means of combating existing and promising means of air attack of a potential enemy. These complexes also come into service around the world, but have more impressive characteristics.

For example, the S-400 can operate simultaneously with 80targets, releasing two missiles for each of them (total 160 missiles). At the same time, target detection is possible at altitudes from 5 meters to 30,000 meters, and the radius of destruction is 400 kilometers. Detection of targets is possible at a distance of up to 600 km. Thus, the system can work with cruise missiles, airplanes and helicopters over a long distance. And hypersonic missiles, the speed of which is several times higher than the speed of sound, can reach the target in a few minutes and destroy the object.

One of the modifications of the machines of the S-400 complex

One of the main differences from obsoletemodifications of the S-300 systems is precisely the most impressive tactical and technical characteristics. The S-300 could operate with a maximum of 36 targets (two missiles per target), the range of destruction was no more than 195 km (for modified versions about 250 km), the altitude was less and often needed reinforcement in the form of separate radar systems.

In addition, the S-300 had less versatility and even had separate modifications that better deal with airplanes or missiles.

What is the S-500 complex

The newer S-500 Prometey complex isthe successor to the S-400 and in the next 10 years will gradually have to replace him on combat duty. While the complex is undergoing recent tests, but its technical characteristics should become much more impressive than its predecessors.

For example, the range of work with goals will bebe up to 3,500 kilometers, which will make it very effective in defense against medium-range missiles. The speed of their own missiles will be 5 Machs, and it will be possible to shoot down not only helicopters, planes and unmanned aerial vehicles, but also intercontinental ballistic missiles at the final stage of flight and some middle stages. In some cases, it will even be possible to detect a missile launch and destroy it at the most vulnerable initial stage of the flight.

While talking about the real application of newcomplexes early, but JSC “Concern East Kazakhstan Almaz-Antey”, engaged in the development of this system, claims that many parts of the complex have already been created and are now being actively tested.

What are the air defense systems

Examples of complexes have already been given above.air defense of different countries of the world. It is not worthwhile to dwell on the characteristics of each separately, since they are more or less similar. This is precisely what ensures the balance of power in air attack and defense. It should only be noted that the development of air defense systems is a very difficult task and only a small number of countries produce them. The rest are simply bought by them, and this particular export item is one of the most impressive for any state offering such developments to a wide market.

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In addition to serious complexes that work ondistant and faster goals, there are simpler developments. They are more mobile, do not require such a large number of personnel and can work in the existing air defense system. One of the important tasks of light systems is to protect more serious long-range air defense systems, the use of heavy missiles of which does not make sense when repelling the attack of light drones.

Automotive modification of the Shell-C1 based on the KAMAZ car with a wheel arrangement of 8x8

In Russia, the most famous complex of suchclass is a self-propelled anti-aircraft missile and cannon system (ZRPK) Pantsir-C1. Its crew is only 3 people, and the deployment time does not exceed five minutes. The response time is 4-6 seconds, and the target tracking distance is 30 km with a detection distance of 36 km.

The speed of the target should not exceed 1000 m / s, and 12 missiles are provided for the fight (the modification of the missiles may vary) and a paired anti-aircraft machine gun of 30 mm caliber with a stock of 1400 shells.

As you can see, the system is suitable or for coveroffensive, or to protect more serious guns, working in conjunction. It is installed on both wheeled and tracked self-propelled vehicles, providing greater mobility and a range of several hundred kilometers. In addition, there are various modifications, the performance characteristics of which may slightly differ from the above.

At the moment, the Shell-C1 is the mostan advanced complex of short-range air cover. He has not so many analogues and the main one is the Chinese FK-1000. However, at the end of last year, a new type of similar weapon was announced in the United States.

Self-propelled anti-aircraft missile and cannon system IM-SHORAD

The new system is called IM-SHORAD. The basis of the system will be the Stryker A1 platform. It is able to provide maneuverable brigade combat groups with the full “detect-identify-track-win” capability. In the light of the significant complication of warfare amid the emergence of a large number of small, almost imperceptible, but dangerous drones, the presence of such a system in the army is simply necessary.

The exact characteristics of the complex are not yet available, but most likely they will be similar to the characteristics of the Pantsir-C1 complexes.

Once again we get a balance thatis the key to relative peace. The problem is that the largest arms manufacturers will develop new types of weapons and modifications to existing systems. At this moment, the pursuit of balance turns into an arms race. I will not speak further. Science fiction writers have already said everything for me. Let's hope they are wrong. In any case, I would like defense systems to be more powerful than attack systems. Otherwise…

In the deep mine which year
The snake monster lurks.
Steel nerves, steel flesh,
Steel claw grip.
He is gaining strength, waiting idly
By sending a radar into the sky.
One mistake, random take-off
And a blow is inevitable.
Aria group, song “Will and Reason”