The vehicles at the rehearsal include the GAZ Tiger armored mobility vehicle, the BUK M2 medium range air defense system, the T-90A main battle tank, the Pantsyr S1 short range air defense system, the Topol-M mobile intercontinental ballistic missile system, the BTR-80 armored personal carrier, the MSTA-S self-propelled howitzer, the S-400 long range air defense system, and the Iskander-M mobile theater ballistic missile system.
The 9K81 (NATO designation: SA-12) S-300V is a radical modification of the S-300 long range air defense system, designed for integration with the ground forces and is a replacement for the aging SA-4. The S-300V has two different type of missiles in its arsenal. The smaller “Gladiator” missiles (usually used against aircraft) have an engagement range of 75 km, while the larger “Giant” missiles (used against ballistic missiles) have an engagement range of over 100 km and at altitudes exceeding 32 km. Both missiles have 150 kg warheads. The S-300V is capable of engaging aircraft, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles.
Unlike other S-300 systems, the S-300V’s chassis is based on the MT-T tracked vehicle, giving it a cross-country mobility that is superior to other S-300 systems. Unlike the other S-300 systems, who’s main priority is intercepting aircraft, the S-300V’s main priority is shooting down ballistic missiles, for which it equipped with the 9M82 (Giant) missile (of which it can only carry a maximum of two), and the 9S19 HIGH SCREEN radar. An S-300V battalion usually consists of up to 6 launching systems, a guidance radar, and a designation and target detection unit. For anti-aircraft defense, the S-300V can also be armed with up to four 9M83 Gladiator missiles. Both missiles are equipped with ultra-efficient solid-propellant motors, are extremely maneuverable, and carry HE (high explosive) fragmentation warheads.
On the Kapustin Yar region’s range, newly built S-400 Triumf air defense systems completed yet another test. Fresh out the factory, the two new S-400 divisions moved swiftly across the range, to get to their destination and begin live-firing tests. Mobility is one of the Triumf’s specialties, and the entire convoy can make a complete turn-around in just 5 minutes, fire off some missiles, and do it again indefinitely, as long as missiles are provided. And those missiles can be older S-300 missiles, or the new “smart” missiles. Today’s target is a modified rocket, and as it flies within the S-400’s range, the Triumf fires a missile. To ensure that all that is left of the target are debris and memories, two more missiles are fired at it.
Neither the speed, nor the size of the target matter to the Triumf. The S-400 can hit a target the size of a volley ball, even if it is enhanced with stealth technology, is flying faster than the speed of sound, and is flying anywhere from 10 meters to 30 km above ground. Of course, the S-400 is not built for the destruction of innocent volleyballs. This system is built to destroy aircraft and ballistic missiles, including Tomahawk cruise missiles, the same ones that the Americans bombarded Iraq with during the desert wars. As for the Patriot, the closest counterpart to the S-400, it is not even on the same level. Even several versions of the older S-300 are considered superior in certain aspects. The S-400 is also cheaper than its American counterpart.
The military is currently undergoing a re-armament program that is designed to fill “holes” in Russia’s military by the year 2020 that formed after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The S-400 will be given considerable priority. The designers of the S-400 assure that a counter-measure for their system will not be available for a long time. These two new divisions will be fielded on the outskirts of Moscow, joining the two regiments that are already fielded there. The next S-400 systems that will be built will be sent to the far east.
Originally developed in 1994 to replace the SA-19 “Tunguska” short-range air defense system, the SA-22 “Pantsyr” S-1 has been extensively upgraded since and is only now starting to enter service with the Russian military. Like the Tunguska, the Pantsyr is a dual missile/gun system, and it is capable of engaging everything from low-flying UAV’s and aircraft to cruise missiles. This system can be used in a variety of roles, such as protecting military outposts and defending longer range air defense systems such as the S-400 (since they cannot engage targets that are within extremely close proximity) in all weather conditions. The Pantsyr completed its final tests (including live-firing) in 2007.
The Pantsyr S-1 is equipped with two dual 2A38M 30 mm automatic cannons, as well as 700 rounds of ammo for these weapons, ranging from high explosive to armor-piercing. Each gun has a range of up to 4 km and a rate of fire of 2500 RPM (Rounds Per Minute). For the missile armament, the Pantsyr has a choice of either 57E6 or 57E6E short-range surface-to-air missiles, which can be installed in ready-to-fire launchers totaling a maximum of 12 (6 tubes on either side of the turret). The missiles do not have tracking seekers and instead reply on radio-guidance data, which can control up to 4 missiles at a time. The Pantsyr S-1 can fire its weapons while in motion.
The Pantsyr is equipped with a dual-band radar that has a tracking range exceeding 24 km. The weapon system can be fitted on a truck or a tracked chassis. There is also a naval weapons system called the Palma CIWS (Close In Weapons System), which uses the same missiles as the Pantsyr. The Pantsyr has been ordered by Algeria, Jordan, Syria, Iran, and the UAE. The Russian military currently operates 31 such systems, and there are plans to have a total of 300 systems by 2016 to replace the Tunguska’s.