F-22A Raptor, FB-22, F-22E, F-22N and Variants Index Page [Click for more ...] People's Liberation Army Air Power Index Page  [Click for more ...]
Military Ethics, Culture, Education and Training Index Page [Click for more ...]
Russian / Soviet Weapon Systems Index Page [Click for more ...]

Last Updated: Mon Jan 27 11:18:09 UTC 2014

Almaz S-300P/PT/PS/PMU/PMU1/PMU2
Almaz-Antey S-400 Triumf
SA-10/20/21 Grumble/Gargoyle

Technical Report APA-TR-2006-1201

by Dr Carlo Kopp, AFAIAA, SMIEEE, PEng
December, 2006
Updated May, 2008.
Updated December, 2008.
Updated March, 2009.
Updated February, 2010
Updated November, 2010
Updated May, 2011
Updated April, 2012

© 2003 - 2012 Carlo Kopp

[Please embed this graphic and link on your website]


The Almaz S-300P/S-400 family of Surface to Air Missile systems is without doubt the most capable SAM system in widespread use in the Asia Pacific region. From its genesis during the 1970s this former Soviet PVO system has continuously evolved, through a series of incremental and larger enhancements.

At this time the PLA is the largest single user of this family of weapons, after the Russian Federation which inherited the considerable inventory operated by the Voyska PVO.

While the S-300P/S-400 series is often labelled as 'Russia's Patriot', the system in many key respects is more capable than the US Patriot series, and in later variants offers mobility performance and thus survivability much better than that of the Patriot. The introduction of the 64N6 Big Bird series of phased array acquisition radars in later variants provides them with many of the capabilities of the US SPY-1 Aegis system, in a highly mobile SAM system.

From an Australian perspective the deployment of large numbers of the S-300P/S-400 family of missiles in Asia is of major concern. Rapidly deployable, high survivable, and highly lethal, these weapons are especially difficult to counter and require significant capabilities to robustly defeat. The US Air Force currently envisages the F-22A Raptor as the primary weapon used to defeat these capable systems.

It is important to note that no F/A-18 variant, nor the Joint Strike Fighter, were designed to penetrate the coverage of the
S-300P/S-400 systems. The survivability of these aircraft will not be significantly better than that of legacy combat aircraft.

With the penetration of the internet into Russia, significant volumes of imagery and technical material covering this system have become available in the public domain. This webpage concentrates some of this material with the aim of providing a resource for military intelligence and strategy professionals.

Strategic Context

Both the Almaz S-300P/S-400 (SA-10, SA-20) and Antey S-300V (SA-12) SAM systems  grew out of the disappointments of Vietnam and the Yom Kippur wars, where single digit S-75/SA-2, S-125/SA-3 and 3M9/SA-6 series SAMs were soundly defeated in combat by the US and Israelis respectively. Designed for the high density battlespace of late Cold War central Europe, the S-300P and S-300V series of SAMs represent the pinnacle of Soviet Cold War era SAM technology, with no effort spared to push the technological envelope. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, both systems have continued to evolve, benefitting immeasurably from large scale access to Western technology markets, and Western computational technology to support further design effort. Against the current benchmark in Western SAM technology, the Raytheon Patriot PAC-3 system, both the S-300P and S-300V series remain highly competitive.

5V28E / SA-5 Gammon

It should come as no surprise that the US publicly expressed concerns about the possibility of Serbia and Iraq acquiring these systems prior to the OAF and OIF air campaigns - the presence of these systems could have dramatically changed the nature of both air campaigns. With superb missile kinematics, high power-aperture phased array radar capability, high jam resistance and high mobility, the S-300P series and S-300V would have required unusually intense defence suppression effort, changing the character and duration of both air campaigns. The political fracas surrounding the Cypriot order for S-300PMU1, and the long standing intent of both North Korea and Iran to purchase large numbers of late model S-300P underscore this point.

In US terminology, the double digit S-300P series and S-300V systems represent anti-access capabilities - designed to make it unusually difficult if not impossible to project air power into defended airspace. The B-2A and F-22A were both developed with these threat systems in mind, and are still considered to be the only US systems capable of robustly defeating these weapons. The technique for defeating them is a combination of wideband all aspect stealth and highly sensitive radio-frequency ESM receivers, combined with offboard sources of near-realtime Intelligence Surveillance Reconaissance (ISR) data on system locations.

Aircraft with no stealth, reduced RCS capabilities, or limited aspect stealth, such as the F-15E, F-16C, F/A-18E/F, Eurofighter Typhoon and JSF are all presented with the reality that high to medium altitude penetration incurs a very highly risk of engagement by either of these weapon systems. It is perhaps ironic that the only reliable defence for aircraft lacking top tier all aspect stealth capability is high speed low altitude terrain masking using Terrain Following Radar, supplemented by offboard near-realtime ISR data, support jamming and standoff missiles. Australia's F-111s, if used cleverly, were arguably much more survivable against this class of technology than the vast majority of newer types in service - it should come as no surprise that the Bundes-Luftwaffe in Germany developed the terrain following Tornado ECR Wild Weasel precisely around this regime of attack on the SA-10/20/12.

That the Canberra DoD leadership opted in 2002 to wholly ignore the arrival of the S-300P series SAMs in the Asia-Pacific region, in their long term force structure planning, is nothing less than remarkable and raises some very serious questions about how well the capabilities of these systems are actually understood in the halls of the Canberra Russell Offices. Despite repeated proposals by a great many parties, there are no plans to equip the RAAF with anti-radiation missiles or support jamming aircraft, there was an ongoing drive for early F-111 retirement, and the F-22A Raptor, the US solution to the S-300P problem, is generally dismissed as being too good for Australia.

Unlike Sukhoi Su-27/30 fighters which many expect will require a robust support infrastructure, intensive training, good tactics and talented fighter pilots to operate, all taking time to mature into a viable capability, the S-300P/S-300V series SAMs were designed for austere support environments, to be operated and maintained largely by Soviet era conscripts. Therefore the integration of these weapons into wider and nearer regional force structures will not incur the delays and difficulties expected by some observers with the Sukhois. A package of S-300P/S-300V batteries could be operationally viable within months of deployment in the region, and earlier if contract Russian or Ukrainian personnel are hired to bring them online faster. The notion of fifteen years warning time looks a little absurd, given that these systems can proliferate and operationally mature as capabilities within one to two years.

With the first generation of these SAMs deployed during the early 1980s, currently marketed variants are third and fourth generation evolutions of the basic design, mature systems built with characteristic Russian robustness and simplicity where possible.

In recent years the accelerated marketing tempo of the desperate Russian industry has seen a surprisingly large amount of detailed technical material on these weapons appear in the public domain, with publications like Military Parade, Vestnik PVO, Missiles.ru and Russkaya Sila posting detailed summaries and data on Internet websites, albeit mostly accessible only to readers of Russian. Other former Warpac nations have also been surprisingly open in sharing information on these weapons. Given the availability of this data it is now possible to compile more comprehensive analyses of these weapons, than of equivalent US products such as the Patriot. This analysis is based largely upon Russian sources.

The arrival of S-300P and S-300V missile systems in the region radically changes the strategic environment, both from the perspective of the US and Australia. These highly capable systems are not invincible, but require significant investment into specialised capabilities to defeat them - prohibitive losses in aircraft and aircrew otherwise might occur. As they are less demanding to operate than modern combat aircraft, operators across the broader region will be able to achieve combat effective proficiency faster than with the Su-27/30. In practical terms the S-300P/S-300V SAMs are a viable deterrent against air forces without the technological and especially intellectual capital to tackle them - and in many respects better value for money than the Su-27/30. Their failure to sell in larger numbers reflects more than anything poor marketing by Russia's industry.

The US Air Force's approach to defeating these SAMs is conceptually simple: the F-22A exploiting its all aspect wideband stealth, supercruise, high altitude and sensitive ESM warning capability will kill the engagement and acquisition radars using guided weapons., primarily the GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb. High power standoff support jamming was to have been provided by the cancelled program for B-52H aircraft equipped with electronically steerable high power jamming pods,  standoff ISR support will be provided by systems such as the RC-135V/W, E-8C and since cancelled E-10 MC2A. Standoff or highly stealthy ISR capabilities will be necessary - the current generation of high altitude UAVs like the RQ-1B and RQ-4A /B are not survivable in airspace covered by the S-300P/S-300V systems.

Conventional unstealthy, or partially stealthy combat aircraft will have difficulty surviving within the coverage of the S-300P/S-300V systems - the high transmit power, large radar and missile seeker apertures, low sidelobes, generous use of monopulse angle tracking and extensive ECCM features make these systems difficult to jam effectively. Self protection jammers will need to produce relatively high X-band power output, and exploit monopulse angle tracking deception techniques - Digital RF Memory techniques with high signal fidelity are nearly essential. Even so the challenges in defeating these systems with a self protection jammer are not trivial - raw power-aperture does matter in this game.

In practical terms, low level terrain masking to remain below the radar horizon of these systems, combined with good standoff ISR, support jamming and a low radar signature standoff missile, is the only reliable defence for an aircraft with anything greater than insect sized all aspect radar signature. For instance the JSF's forward sector stealth is likely to be adequate, but its aft and beam sector stealth performance will not be, especially considering the wavelengths of many of the radars in question - a JSF driver runs a real risk of taking a 3,000 lb hypersonic SAM up his tailpipe if he cannot kill the target SAM engagement radar in his first pass. For the JSF, integration of a terrain following radar mode in its AESA radar is not an unusual technical challenge, incurring only modest development cost. The bigger bite will be in shortened airframe fatigue life resulting from fast low level penetration with a modestly swept wing design.

Of the current crop of conventional fighters in Western service, the most survivable are those with good TFRs - the F-111, Tornado and F-15E if fitted with the LANTIRN TFR pod - all requiring a high performance EW suite.

A weakness of both the S-300P/S-300V systems is that they are severely radar horizon limited in a fully mobile configuration. The addition of mast mounted acquisition radars to extend their low level footprint severely impairs the mobility of the battery.

The popular idea of shooting cruise missiles, anti-radiation missiles or standoff missiles at the S-300P/S-300V battery, assuming its location is known, is only viable where such a weapon has a sufficiently low radar signature to penetrate inside the minimum engagement range of the SAM before being detected - anything less will see the inbound missile killed by a self defensive SAM shot. The current Russian view of this is to sell Tor M2E/SA-15D Gauntlet and Pantsir S1/S2 / SA-22 self-propelled point defence SAM systems as a rapid reaction close in defensive Counter-PGM system to protect the S-300P/S-300V battery by shooting down the incoming missile if it gets past the S-300P/S-300V SAMs. Integration of the new Fakel 9M96 series point defence SAM would provide an organic Counter-PGM defensive capability in the battery.

In summary, current RAAF force structure plans do not provide for a robust long term capability to defeat the S-300P/S-300V class of SAMs - weapons which are very likely to be encountered during coalition operations, and most likely, regional operations over the coming two or more decades. If the RAAF wishes to remain competitive in this developing regional environment, further intellectual and material investment will be needed.

Almaz S-300P/PT Volkhov-M6 / SA-10A Grumble A

Зенитный Ракетный  Комплекс  С-300П/ПT

The earliest origins of the S-300P series lie in the mid 1960s, when the Soviet Voyska PVO and Ministry of Military Production initiated its development. The aim was to produce an area defence SAM system capable of replacing the largely ineffective S-75/SA-2 Guideline and S-200/SA-5 Gammon systems, neither of which performed well against low flying Wild Weasels, low RCS targets or US support jamming aircraft. The original intent was to design a common SAM system for the Voyska-PVO (Air Defence Forces), Voenno-Morskiy Flot (Navy) and the PVO-SV (Air Defence Corps of the Red Army) but divergent service needs across these three users soon saw commonality drop well below 50%. Ultimately the V-PVO's S-300P series and PVO-SV's S-300V series diverged so completely to become largely unique systems.

Above, below: early model 5N63 Flap Lid A towed variant on display at the Moscow District PVO Museum at Zarya, near Moscow. Note the exposed polarisation screen in the space feed (Images © Miroslav Gyűrösi).

An excellent study of the 5N63 Flap Lid A deployed on 40V6M semi-mobile mast system by Said Aminov, produced at the Togliati Museum in Russia (© 2009, Said Aminov).

Above, detail of the 5N63 Flap Lid A F1 radar head module deployed on 40V6M semi-mobile mast system, by Said Aminov, produced at the Togliati Museum in Russia. The dual plane monopulse circular polarised primary feed has been stripped and the concertina shroud has deteriorated. The operator consoles are in the F2 module, typically located on a truck. Later self-propelled 5N63S Flap Lid B variants retained the capability to deploy the F1S module on the 40V6M/MD mast, with the F2S module remaining attached to the MAZ-7910 8x8 vehicle chassis (© 2009, Said Aminov).

The design aims of the original S-300P were to produce a strategic area defence SAM system, intended to protect fixed targets such as government precincts, industrial facilities, command posts and headquarters, military bases, strategic and tactical airfields and nuclear sites. This weapon system was to initially defeat SAC's SRAM firing FB-111As, B-52Hs and then anticipated B-1As, and later the Boeing AGM-86B Air Launched Cruise Missile. The deployment model of the first generation systems was based on the existing S-75/SA-2, S-125/SA-3 and S-200/SA-5 systems, with a semi-mobile package of towed trailer mounted radars and missile Transporter Erector Launchers (TEL).

5P85-1 TEL (Author)

The S-300P introduced some important technological innovations. The first generation V-500/5V55 missile used a single stage solid rocket motor, and conceptually is closest to the baseline US Army MIM-104 Patriot. The missile was deployed and handled in a sealed cylindrical launch tube/canister, with a cold start gas generator used to eject the missile vertically before its motor was initiated. The 5P85 TEL was a semi-trailer arrangement, with the forward booms splayed when deployed as stabilisers. The four launch tubes were mounted on a hydraulically elevated frame, retained in later TEL designs. A typical battery would be equipped with three 5P85 TELs, each with four SAMs, or double the SAM complement of the S-75/SA-2 it replaced and permitting 2 rounds per launch. The designation of this TEL following a mid life block upgrade became 5P85-1.

5N63 Flap Lid A Engagement Radar (радиолокатор подсвета и наведения)

The first generation of the S-300P's 5N63 (later 30N6) Flap Lid A engagement/fire control radar was also innovative, and clearly influenced by the Raytheon MPQ-53 engagement radar for the MIM-104 Patriot. The Flap Lid, like the MPQ-53, uses a 10,000 element transmissive passive shifter technology phased array, with a space (a.k.a. optical) feed into the rear plane of the antenna, using a microwave lens feed and a complex monopulse horn arrangement. The Flap Lid's antenna stows flat on the roof of the radar cabin, which was initially deployed on a trailer towed by a Ural-357, KrAZ-255 or KrAZ-260 6x6 tractor. The whole radar cabin is mounted on a turntable and used to slew the phased array to cover a 60 degree sector of interest.

MPQ-53 Patriot

The 5N63 was a huge generational leap in technology from the Fan Song, Low Blow and Square Pair mechanically steered and scanned engagement radars on preceding V-PVO SAMs. With electronic beam steering, very low sidelobes and a narrow pencil beam mainlobe, the 30N6 phased array is more difficult to detect and track by an aircraft's warning receiver when not directly painted by the radar, and vastly more difficult to jam. While it may have detectable backlobes, these are likely to be hard to detect from the forward sector of the radar. As most anti-radiation missiles rely on sidelobes to home in, the choice of engagement geometry is critical in attempting to kill a Flap Lid.

Unlike the Patriot's MPQ-53 engagement radar which has substantial autonomous search capability, the 5N63  is primarily an engagement radar designed to track targets and guide missiles to impact using a command link channel. The absence of dedicated directional antennas on this system indicates that the commands are transmitted via a specialised waveform emitted by the main array. The first generation of the 5V55K missile was command link guided, following the design philosophy of the S-75/SA-2 and S-125/SA-3, with a cited range of 25 nautical miles and altitude limits between 80 ft and 80,000 ft.

S-300PT 5P85-1 TEL

This variant was designated the S-300PT (P - PVO, T -Transportiruyemiy) and incrementally upgraded models the S-300PT-1, it entered service in 1978. NATO labelled it the SA-10A Grumble.


Two search and acquisition radars were introduced to support the S-300PT, both with 360 degree coverage. The 3D 36D6/ST-68UM/5N59 Tin Shield was used for high and medium altitude targets, and the 2D 76N6 Clam Shell for low altitude low RCS targets.

36D6 Tin Shield

The 36D6 Tin Shield is semimobile and towed by a KrAZ-255 or -260 tractor, it can be deployed or stowed in one hour, or two with the mast. The design uses a large paraboloid cylindrical section primary reflector and a linear element array deployed on a pair of booms to provide electronic beam steering in elevation from -20 to +30 degrees, the antenna can perform a full 360 degree sweep in 5 to 10 seconds. With a transmitter peak power rating cited between 1.23 MegaWatts and 350 kiloWatts, the manufacturer claims the ability to detect a 0.1 square metre RCS target at 300 ft AGL out to 24.8 nautical miles, and at medium to high altitudes to 94.5 nautical miles. Clutter rejection is claimed to exceed 48 dB, and the system can track 100 targets. An IFF system is integrated in the radar.

LEMZ 5N66/5N66M/76N6 Clam Shell (низковысотный обнаружитель)

Its sibling, the 5N66/5N66M/76N6 Clam Shell low level early warning radar, is an unconventional frequency modulated continuous wave design, using a split antenna arrangement with a large beak to prevent spillover from the transmitter. Quoted performance figures include the detection of targets with an RCS as low as 0.02 square metres, at speeds of up to 1,400 kt, with a bearing resolution of 1 degree, velocity resolution of 9.3 kt and range resolution of 2.15 NM. Quoted RMS tracking errors are 0.3 degree in bearing, 4.7 kt in velocity and 1 NM in range. Chaff rejection performance is quoted at better than 100 dB, detection range is stated to be 50 NM for targets at 1,500 ft altitude, and 65 NM for 3,000 ft altitude. The transmitter delivers 1.4 kW of CW power at an unspecified carrier frequency, system MTBF is quoted at 100 hr with an MTTR of 0.5 hr.

76N6 Clam Shell Technical Analysis [Click for more ....]

76N6 Nizkovysotniy Obnaruzhitel'

5N66M / 76N6 / 40V6M

40V6M Chassis Deployed

5N66M / 76N6 / 40V6MD - this is the extended height mast variant.

An important feature of the S-300PT was the introduction of the semi-mobile 40V6, 40V6M and 40V6MD masts, towed by a MAZ-543 derived tractor, in turn based on the 1966 Scud launcher vehicle. The 23.8 metre tall 40V6, 40V6M could be used to elevate the Clam Shell, Tin Shield and Flap Lid radars to extend their radar horizon and improve clearance in uneven terrain. The double height 37.8 metre tall 40V6MD has been used with the Flap Lid, Clam Shell,  and its recent 96L6 replacement. The masts take 1 to 2 hours to erect. The unique 40V6 series masts permit static or semimobile S-300P series SAM systems extended low level coverage not available in any competing Western designs, and were clearly introduced to defeat SAC's low level FB-111A, B-52G/H and B-1B force - and the AGM-86B cruise missile. These masts continue to be marketed as an accessory for the latest production variants of S-300P radars.

The Tin Shield / Clam Shell / Flap Lid combo provided the V-PVO with the first all altitude acquisition and engagement package on a semi-mobile SAM system and was a key factor driving the development of the F-117A and B-2A bombers. Had the balloon gone up in 1984, the F-117A would have tasked first and foremost with obliterating the V-PVO's S-300P radar systems.

54K6 Mobile Command Post 

The two radars were integrated with a 5N63S mobile command post, carried on an 8x8 MAZ-7910 chassis.

54K6E-2 Command Post
54K6E Command Post

Almaz S-300PS / SA-10B Grumble B

Самоходный Зенитный Ракетный  Комплекс  С-300ПС

Growing US electronic combat and SEAD capabilities, in the EF-111A Raven and F-4G Weasel forces were clearly considered a serious threat and this spurred the further evolution of the S-300PT system. In 1982 the V-PVO introduced a fully mobile variant of the system, designated the S-300PS (P- PVO, S - Samochodnyy/Self-propelled), labelled by NATO the SA-10B.

5N63S Flap Lid B deployed. Note the distinct array shape (images © Miroslav Gyűrösi).

30N6 Stowed

5N63S Flap Lid B stowed.



The S-300PS saw the 5N63 Flap Lid engagement radar and 5P85 TEL transplanted on to the high mobility 8x8 MAZ-7910 vehicle derived from the MAZ-543. The rehosted radar became the 5N63S Flap Lid B (Samochodnyy/Self-propelled). This permitted the engagement radar and TELs to set up for firing in 5 minutes, and rapidly scoot away after a missile shot to evade US Air Force Weasels. Two improved variants of the 5V55 missile were introduced. The 50 nautical mile extended range 5V55KD was supplemented with the 5V55R, the latter using a Track Via Missile (TVM) semi-active seeker similar in concept to the MIM-104 Patriot seeker. The TVM system relays to the ground station radar data produced by the missile seeker, and offers better jam resistance and accuracy against a pure command link guidance package, especially as the missile nears the target. Later variants of the Flap Lid are designated as Radiolokator Podsvieta i Navedeniya (RPN - Illumination and Guidance Radar).

The improved 5N63S Flap Lid B radar had the capability to concurrently engage six targets, and guide two missiles against each target. The phased array beam steering angular range was extended to permit instantaneous coverage of a 90 degree sector, comparable to the SPY-1 Aegis radar.

5P85D TEL.

 5P85D TEL.

5P85DU TEL of the Slovakian Air Force (image © Miroslav Gyűrösi).

Improvements were not confined to the radar and missiles. Two variants of the MAZ-7910 based TEL were introduced. The 5P85S with the characteristic large accessory cabin and the supplementary 5P85D TEL/Transloader, were both equipped with 5S18/19 series autonomous electrical power generators. A fully mobile 54K6 command post was introduced, also carried by a MAZ-7910. A typical battery 5P85SD TEL group would include one 5P85S TEL, two 5P85D TEL/Transloaders and one mobile 5N63S Flap Lid B radar. The 5P85S was a "smart" TEL equipped with the control logic and datalink hardware for the whole 5P85SD TEL group, the 5P85D being a "dumb" TEL under the control of the 5P85S (the mnemonic is accidental).

The S-300PS/SA-10B was a close technological equivalent to the MIM-104 in many respects, but was significantly more mobile, and offered a better low altitude footprint due to the semimobile mast mounted Tin Shield and Clam Shell systems.

Almaz S-300PMU / SA-10B/C Grumble B/C

Самоходный Зенитный Ракетный  Комплекс  С-300ПМУ

The first export variant of the S-300P series was the S-300PMU/SA-10C, which was in most respects identical to the Soviet S-300PS/SA-10B and made available in 1989. The system may be labelled in Western literature either as an export SA-10B or SA-10C.

5P85TE TEL Deployed

The S-300PMU was also supplied with variants of the S-300PS MAZ-7910 based TELs, these being designated 5P85SU/DU respectively. A battery was equipped with up to four 83P6 fire units, comprising in total twelve (4 x 1 + 2) 5P85S/5P85D (SU/DU export variant) TELs, each with four 5V55 rounds.

5P85TE Transporter Erector Launcher Technical Analysis [Click for more ...]

5P85TE TEL Deployed

Almaz S-300PM/PMU1 / SA-20A Gargoyle A

Самоходный Зенитный Ракетный  Комплекс  С-300ПМ/ПМУ1

The next big evolutionary step in the S-300P system was the introduction of the enhanced S-300PM and its export variant the S-300PMU1/SA-10D, in 1993. The SA-10D, later redesignated SA-20 Gargoyle, was subjected to what Russian sources describe as a deep modernisation with design changes to most key components of the system. The aim was to improve its basic capabilities as a SAM, extend radar and engagement footprints, increase the level of automation in the system, and introduce an anti-ballistic missile capability against ballistic missiles with re-entry speeds of up to 2.8 km/sec. It is intended to engage combat aircraft at all altitudes, cruise missiles and tactical ballistic missiles, making it an equivalent to the PAC-1 and PAC-2 Patriot variants.

30N6 Tomb Stone in deployed configuration. Note the revised array shape cf the 5N63S series.

Incremental changes were made to the Flap Lid, yielding the 30N6/30N6-1 Tomb Stone variant, designated 30N6E1 for export, capable of guiding the new 48N6 missile, the manufacturer claims an ability to engage targets with an RCS as low as 0.02 square metres at an unspecified range, and an autonomous search capability. The 30N6E1 retains the capability to deploy on the 40V6M mast. An improved 54K6E1 mobile command post was introduced, the 76N6 Clam Shell was retained. While the 36D6 Tin Shield remained available, the S-300PMU1 introduced the new highly mobile NIIIP 5N64S (64N6E export designation) Big Bird 3D search and acquisition radar, carried on a 8x8 MAZ-7910 series vehicle, the MAZ-74106-9988. The radar can be deployed or stowed in 5 minutes - the booms stow against the array, the outer panels of the array swing inward and the whole antenna stows forward to lie flat on top of the trailer.

The S-300PM/PMU1 saw the introduction of a third TEL variant, the semitrailer based 5P85T series usually towed by a 6x6 KrAZ-260 tractor. Unlike the earlier road mobile 5P85 TEL, the 5P85T was designed for 'shoot and scoot' rapid erection and launch preparation, and was equipped with an integral electrical power generator and a radio datalink package for autonomous operation. The key distinction is that the 5P85T is a road mobile TEL rather than off-road mobile TEL, quite unlike the semimobile 5P85 TEL.

A typical S-300PM/PMU1 battery comprises a 30N6E1 engagement radar, a 76N6 (76N6E export) low level early warning / acquisition radar and up to a maximum of eight 5P85S/5P85T (SE/TE export variant) TELs, each with four 48N6 rounds. A PVO battalion then combines up to six batteries, using a shared 64N6E acquisition radar, supported by a 54K6E command post. Both the TEL variants departed from earlier subtypes in that all TELs qualify as "smart" and can be independently addressed by the 30N6E1 battery radar via datalinks. The more compact electronics package saw the removal of the large cabin used with the S-300PS/PMU 5P85S/SU TEL.

A 1T12 site survey vehicle used to support an S-300PMU1 battery.

48N6 Launch

48N6 Missile Launch

5N64S/64N6 Big Bird Acquisition Radar (радиолокатор обнаружения)

The 5N64S/64N6E Big Bird is the key to much of the improved engagement capability, and ballistic missile intercept capability in the later S-300P variants. This system operates in the 2 GHz band and is a phased array with a 30% larger aperture than the US Navy SPY-1 Aegis radar, even accounting for its slightly larger wavelength it amounts to a mobile land based Aegis class package. It has no direct equivalent in the West.

Like other components of the system, the 64N6E has a number of unique and lateral design features. The radar antenna is mounted on a cabin, in turn mounted on a turntable permitting 360 degree rotation. Unlike Western phased arrays in this class, the 64N6 uses a transmissive phased array with a front face horn feed, the horn placed at the end of the long boom which protects the waveguides to the transmitters and receivers in the cabin. The beam steering electronics are embedded inside the antenna array, which has around 3400 phase elements on either face. This Janus faced arrangement permits the Big Bird to concurrently search two 90 degree sectors, in opposite directions, using mechanical rotation to position the antenna and electronic beam steering in azimuth and elevation. This design technique permits incremental growth in output power as the only components of the system which have to handle high microwave power levels are the waveguide and feed horn.

The radar includes a fixed sector search mode, in which rotation is stopped, the antenna tilted back and electronic beamsteering employed to search a fixed angular extent in elevation and azimuth, centred on the antenna boresight. This mode is employed for targets requiring high tracking update rates, such as ballistic missiles, or fast aircraft.

The 64N6E is a frequency hopper, and incorporates additional auxiliary antenna/receiver channels for suppression of sidelobe jammers - NIIP claim the ability to measure accurate bearing to jamming sources. The back end processing is Moving Target Indicator (MTI), and like the Aegis the system software can partition the instantaneous sector being covered into smaller zones for specific searches. To enhance MTI performance the system can make use of stored clutter returns from multiple preceding sweeps. Detection ranges for small fighter targets are of the order of 140 to 150 nautical miles for early variants. Per 12 second sweep 200 targets can be detected, and either six or twelve can be individually tracked for engagements.

Early production 5N64S Big Bird A configuration - deployed.

64N6E1/E2 deployed on display.

64N6E deployed in the field.

64N6E stowed and on the move.

While the Big Bird provides an excellent acquisition capability against aerial and ballistic missile targets, the 5V55 missile was inadequate. The S-300PM/PMU1 introduced the 48N6 which has much better kinematics - cited range against aerial targets is 81 nautical miles, ballistic missile targets 21.5 nautical miles, with a minimum engagement range of 1.6 to 2.7 nautical miles. Low altitude engagement capabilities were improved - down to 20 - 30 ft AGL. The missile speed peaks at 2,100 metres/sec or cca Mach 6. The missiles can be fired at 3 second intervals, and Russian sources claim a single shot kill probability of 80% to 93% for aerial targets, 40% to 85% for cruise missiles and 50% to 77% for TBMs.

The PRC has to date been the principal export client for the system, acquiring between 4 and 6 batteries of the S-300PMU between 1991 and 1994, and supplementing these with further buys. The PLA's systems include both fully mobile 5P85SU/DU and road mobile 5P85T series TELs. The total PLA inventory has not been disclosed publicly. The most recent buy has been of two S-300F/SA-N-6 navalised systems for the PLA-N. The principal impediment to export sales numbers has remained cost - a well equipped battery is typically cited at around US$100 million.

In 2008 Iran was to have taken initial deliveries of its package of S-300PMU1 systems. Details on quantities, configuration, and supporting radars remain to be disclosed. The delivery was delayed and later cancelled following a resolution by the UN Security Council, in 2010.

LEMZ 96L6E deployed (© 2010, Yevgeniy Yerokhin, Missiles.ru)

96L6 Acquisition Radar (радиолокатор обнаружения)

An option for the S-300PS/PMU, S-300PM/PMU1 and follow-on S-300PMU2 cited by two Russian manufacturers is the new LEMZ 96L6 early warning and acquisition radar, a planar array design with electronic beam steering in elevation and mechanical steering in azimuth. It is intended as a replacement for the Tin Shield and Clam Shell. The 96L6/96L6E is available in semi-mobile towed versions, a semi-mobile mast mounted version using variants of the 40V6M/MD, and a fully mobile version on an 8x8 MZKT-7930 vehicle, based on the MAZ-543M chassis. LEMZ claim a detection range of 160 nautical miles, and the ability to track up to 100 targets, an IFF array is colocated with the antenna. The system has an interface for digital data transmission directly to a 30N6E/E1/E2 Flap Lid, using cabled links to the S-300PMU/PMU1 and optical fibre cables or microwave links to the S-300PMU2. Deployment and stow time is 5 minutes for the mobile variant, and 30 to 120 minutes for the semi-mobile and mast mounted variants respectively.

96L6 Technical Analysis [Click for more ....]

Provisional data - Russian sources.

Almaz S-300PMU2 Favorit / SA-20B Gargoyle

Самоходный Зенитный Ракетный  Комплекс  С-300ПМУ2 'Фаворит'

Further evolution of the S-300P design took place between 1995 and 1997, yielding the S-300PMU2/SA-10E Favorit system, later redesignated SA-20B Gargoyle, intended to compete directly against the Antey S-300V and Patriot PAC-2/3 systems as an Anti-Ballistic Missile system. The Favorit incorporates incrementally upgraded 30N6E2 Tomb Stone, 64N6E2 Big Bird radars and a 54K6E2 command post, and the 96L6E as its early warning and primary acquisition system. While the system retains compatibility with earlier 48N6 missiles, a new extended 108 nautical mile range 46N6E2 missile was added.

The Favorit's new command post has the capability to control S-300PMU / SA-10B/C, S-300PMU1 / SA-20A batteries, and also S-200VE/SA-5 Gammon batteries, relaying coordinates and commands to the 5N62VE Square Pair guidance and illumination radar. While the Favorit superficially appears like the SA-20A, it has a wide range of incremental improvements internally, and a range of optimisations to improve performance in the Anti-Ballistic Missile role. Almaz, the system integrators, and Fakel, the missile designers, claim to have repeatedly caused Scud target vehicle warheads to detonate during test intercepts at the Kapustin Yar range in 1995.

 64N6E2 Big Bird deployed.

S-400 5P85SE demonstrator TEL with quad 9M96E launch tubes (image © Miroslav Gyűrösi).

SA-10/20 Missiles
SAM Specifications
 Характеристики ЗУР 5В55К 5В55Р 48Н6 48Н6E2
SAM System
S-300PM/PMU1 Favorit

С-300ПT С-300ПС/ПМY С-300ПM/ПМY-1 Фаворит
MKB Fakel
Разработчик МКБ "Факел"
Изготовитель ПО "ЛСЗ"
in service,
out of production
in service
Состояние на вооружении, сняты с производства на вооружении
Engagement Envelope
-range [NMI]
-altitude [ft]




Зона поражения, км
- дальность
- высота




Target max speed [KTAS]



Максимальная скорость цели, км/ч N/A 4300 6450 7500
SAM max speed
< 6.7
< 6.7
< 7.0
< 7.0
Максимальная скорость ЗУР, м/с до 2000 до 2000 до 2100 до 2100
Weight [lb]
Масса ракеты, кг 1480-1500 1665* 1800-1900 N/A
Warhead weight [lb]
Масса БЧ, кг 133 196 143 180
Warhead type
Тип БЧ осколочно-фугасная
Guidance system
Command link
Track via missile
Система управления радиокомандная комбинированная через ракету
Length [in]
Длина ракеты, м 7,25 7,25 7,5 N/A
Diameter[in] 20.0
Диаметр корпуса ракеты, м 0,508 0,508 0,519 N/A
Tail span[in] 44.25
Размах оперения, м 1,124 1,124 1,134 N/A
Number of stages
Число ступеней 1 1 1 1
Motor type
Solid propellant
Тип двигателя твердотопливный
Motor burn duration [sec]
8-10 8-10 < 12
Время работы двигателя, сек 8-10 8-10 до 12 N/A
Load factor limit [G]
Располагаемые перегрузки н/д н/д 25 н/д
Storage life [yr]
10 10
10 10 Гарантированный срок хранения в ТПК, лет 10 10 10 10
*including launch tube - 5170 lb
 * с контейнером - 2342 кг

Technical Analysis of S-300P/S-400 Support Vehicles [Click here ...]

S-400 Triumf / SA-21 battery components (© 2010, Yevgeniy Yerokhin, Missiles.ru)

Almaz-Antey S-400 Triumf / SA-21

Самоходный Зенитный Ракетный  Комплекс  С-400 'Триумф'

The Almaz S-400 Triumf or SA-21 'Growler' system is the subsequent evolution of the S-300PMU2, trialled in 1999. The label S-400 is essentially marketing, since the system was previously reported under the speculative label of S-300PMU3. At least one report claims that funding for the development of the Triumf was provided in part by the PLA.

The principal distinctions between the S-400 and its predecessor lie in further refinements to the radar and software, and the addition of four new missile types in addition to the legacy 48N6E/48N6E2 used in the S-300PMU2 Favorit. As a result an S-400 battery could be armed with arbitrary mixes of these weapons to optimise its capability for a specific threat environment. The 30N6E2 further evolved into the more capable 92N2E Grave Stone, carried by a new 8 x 8 MZKT-7930 vehicle. The additional range required a significantly uprated transmitter tube to provide the higher power-aperture performance needed, in additional to an improved exciter and automatic frequency hopping capability. The 96L6 is offered as an 'all altitude' battery acquisition radar, also carried by a 8 x 8 MZKT-7930 vehicle. A new 3D phased array acquisition radar is employed, the 91N6E derived from the 64N6E2, and the 40V6M/MD mast is an available option. The 55K6E command post is employed, carried by a new Russian built 8 x 8 Ural 532301 truck.

A 2008 diagram published by Almaz-Antey showing the composition of an S-400 battery. Notable points include the integration of external low band NNIIRT Protivnik GE and VNIIRT Gamma DE L-band radars, and a range of passive emitter locating systems. All have the angular accuracy to provide midcourse guidance updates for missile shots.

Optional acquisition radars cited for the S-400 include the 59N6 Protivnik GE and 67N6 Gamma DE in the L-band, but also the 1L119 Nebo SVU in the VHF band. The Nebo SVU has a claimed capability against stealth aircraft. In addition to further acquisition radar types, the S-400 has been trialled with the Topaz Kolchuga M, KRTP-91 Tamara / Trash Can, and 85V6 Orion / Vega emitter locating systems, the aim being to engage  emitting targets without emitting from the acquisition radars, or if the acquisition radars have been jammed. In June, 2008, the manufacturer diclosed the integration of the 1RL220VE, 1L222 and 86V6 Orion emitter locating systems with the S-400.

55K6E CP carried by an 8 x 8 Ural 532301 truck (Almaz-Antey).

LEMZ 96L6 acquisition radar carried by an MZKT-7930 vehicle (© 2010, Yevgeniy Yerokhin, Missiles.ru).

The 92N2E Grave Stone is an evolution of the 30N6 Tomb Stone / Flap Lid series, and is carried by an 8 x 8 MZKT-7930 vehicle (© 2010, Yevgeniy Yerokhin, Missiles.ru).

The new 91N6E is a derivative of the 64N6E Big Bird series. It is readily identified against the 64N6E by the use of the new build MZKT-7930 tractor. It retains the general configuration of its predecessors (Almaz-Antey).

92N2E Grave Stone and 5P85TE2 TEL (Almaz-Antey).

The 5P85TE2 TEL towed by a 6 x 6 BAZ-64022 [1], [2] tractor was a distinctive feature of the S-400, making it readily identifiable in comparison with the KrAZ-260 towed 5P85TE variants used with the SA-20 Gargoyle . Recent S-300PMU2 / SA-20B systems supplied to the PLA also use the BAZ-64022 tractor (© 2010, Yevgeniy Yerokhin, Missiles.ru).

Common S-300PMU2/S-400 transloader based on the 8 x 8 Ural 532301 chassis (Ural).

48N6E3 SAM Cutaway. Note the TVC vanes in the exhaust nozzle. The seeker is labelled as 'semi-active radar' (Almaz-Antey)

S-400 48N6E2/E3 SAM specifications.

TEL options include the 5P85TE2 semitrailer, towed by a 6 x 6 BAZ-64022 and an improved 8 x 8 TEL, which has yet to be published. Demonstrators used the baseline 5P85SE on a MAZ-7910.

Fakel 48N6E3 and 40N6 Surface to Air Missiles

The first missile added to the system is the 48N6E3/48N6DM (Dal'naya - long range), an incrementally improved 48N6E2 variant with a range cited at 130 nautical miles.

The second missile added to the S-400 is the new 40N6, a long range  ballistic trajectory weapon with a cited range of 215 - 240 nautical miles, intended to kill AWACS, JSTARS and other high value assets, such as EA-6B/EA-18G support jammers. Further details of this weapon remain to be disclosed, although the Russian media reported successful completion of state trials in 2010. The significant range improvement to around twice that of the 48N6E2 suggests a two stage weapon, or a much larger motor casing with a larger propellant load.

Extended range missile shots typically involve ballistic flight profiles with apogees in excess of 40 km. The protracted development of the 40N6 suggests that directional control through the upper portions of the flight profile may have presented difficulties. One advantage of such flight profiles is that the missile converts potential energy into kinetic energy during the terminal phase of its flight, accelerating as it dives on its target. This provides higher endgame G capability in comparison with flatter climb-cruise-home profiles used in legacy designs.

Fakel 9M96E and 9M96E2 Surface to Air Missiles

The third and fourth new S-400 missiles are in effect equivalents to the ERINT/PAC-3 interceptor missile recently introduced to supplement the MIM-104 in Patriot batteries. These are the 9M96E and 9M96E2, largely identical with the latter version fitted with a larger booster. Fakel claim the 96M6E has a range of 21.6 nautical miles, and the 9M96E2 64.8 nautical miles, with altitude capabilities from 15 ft AGL up to 66 kft and 100 kft respectively.

9M96E1 and 9M96E2

9M96E and 9M96E2 (Almaz-Antey).

The 9M96 missiles are hittiles designed for direct impact, and use canards and thrust vectoring to achieve extremely high G and angular rate capability - they are not unlike a scaled up R-73/AA-11 Archer dogfight missile in concept, although their design heritage owes more to the 9K330/9K331/9K332 Tor M/M1/M2 / SA-15 Gauntlet airframe design. An inertial package is used with a datalink from the 30N6E radar for midcourse guidance, with an active radar homing seeker of an undisclosed type. The small 53 lb (24 kg) blast fragmentation warhead is designed to produce an controlled fragment pattern, using multiple initiators to shape the detonation wave through the explosive. A smart radio fuse is used to control the warhead timing and pattern. It is in effect a steerable shaped charge.

The smaller size of these weapons permits four to be loaded into the volume of a single 48N6E/5V55K/R launch tube container - a form fit four tube launcher container was to have been used, although recent Russian reports suggest a modified full sized tube with four internal chambers will be used. A single 5P85S/T TEL can thus deploy up to 16 of these missiles, or mixes of 3 x 48N6 / 4 x 9M96E/E2, 2 x 48N6 / 8 x 9M96E/E2 or 1 x 48N6 / 12 x 9M96E/E2. The stated aim of this approach was to permit repeated launches against saturation attacks with precision guided munitions - in effect trading 9M96 rounds for incoming guided weapons. Fakel claim a single shot kill probability of 70% against a Harpoon class missile, and 90% against a manned aircraft.

The addition of the 9M96E/E2 missiles, which amount to a combined ABM and point defence weapon designs, is part of a broader Russian strategy of deploying air defence weapons capable of defeating PGM attacks, including the AGM-88 HARM family, and follow-on defence suppression weapons, the latter types intended to disable the S-400 battery acquisition and engagement radars. The advantage in using the 9M96E/E2 for this purpose is that it avoids the additional technical and operational complexity of directing other "counter-PGM" point defence weapons such as the Tor M1/M2, Tunguska M and Pantsir S/S1 series.

Basic characteristics of the 9M96E and 9M96E2 missiles (Fakel in Milparade.ru)

9M96E 9M96E2
Target engagement envelope, km:
Weight, kg:
container with four missiles
Average velocity, m/s 750 1,000
First shot hit probability:
piloted target
unpiloted target
target═s payload
Some sources have credited the 9M96E/9M96E2 missiles to the S-300PMU1 and S-300PMU2 Favorit, the latter of which appears to have been the demonstration platform for prototypes of these missiles. Integration of these missiles on either of these systems will not present any challenges. To date there have been no disclosures on domestic volume production or export sales of the 9M96 series.

Some sources also credit the S-400 with the capability first demonstrated in the S-300PMU2 Favorit, of controlling S-200 / SA-5 batteries and directing the 5N62VE Square Pair FMCW guidance and illumination radar. Given that the Russian S-200 inventory and missile warstock has been decommissioned and exported, if this capability is retained, it is for export clientele.

Russian Designation
Original Designation
Revised Designation
SA-10A Grumble A
SA-10A Grumble A

SA-10B Grumble B
SA-10B Grumble B

SA-10C Grumble C
SA-10C Grumble C

SA-10D Grumble D
SA-20 Gargoyle (A)

S-300PMU2 Favorit
SA-10E Grumble E
SA-20 Gargoyle (B)

S-400 Triumf
SA-21 Growler (A)




  1. Australian Aviation  - October 2003 -Asia's New SAMs Pt.1 (S-300PMU/SA-10)
  2. Australian Aviation  - November 2003 -Asia's New SAMs Pt.2 (S-400/SA-20, S-300V/SA-12)
  3. RusArmy.com - Видео ПВО России  [Video of Russian PVO] S-300PMU footage (Highly Recommended)
  4. OAO Koncern PVO Almaz-Antey [Manufacturer's site in Russian] ГСКБ "Алмаз-Антей", 125190, Российская Федерация, г. Москва, Ленинградский проспект, д. 80, корпус 16
  5. ЗРС С-400 "Триумф": Обнаружение - дальнее, сопровождение - точное, пуск - поражающий, URL: http://www.raspletin.ru/press-centre/news/2008/080603/
  6. Vladimir Svetlov, Desert Fox Hunters, Military Parade, Issue 32. March - April 1999, URL: http://milparade.udm.ru/security/32/008x.htm
  7. Imagery Sources: Author; Rosoboronexport; Russkaya Sila; Vestnik PVO; Yevgeniy Yerokhin/Missiles.ru, Miroslav Gyűrösi, Said Aminov/Vestnik PVO, MilitaryPhotos.net; Military.cz.
  8. Line Artwork: © 2003, 2006 Carlo Kopp.


Special thanks to  Miroslav Gyűrösi for his helpful advice on early model designations and battery compositions, and imagery of early variants, Yevgeniy Yerokhin of Missiles.ru and Said Aminov of Vestnik PVO for the respective use of their high quality imagery.

5P85TE TELs towed by KrAZ-260 tractors.

Technical Report APA-TR-2006-1201

People's Liberation Army Air Power Index Page [Click for more ...]
Military Ethics, Culture, Education and Training Index Page [Click for more ...]
Russian / Soviet Weapon Systems Index Page [Click for more ...]

Artwork, graphic design, layout and text © 2004 - 2014 Carlo Kopp; Text © 2004 - 2014 Peter Goon; All rights reserved. Recommended browsers. Contact webmaster. Site navigation hints. Current hot topics.

Site Update Status: $Revision: 1.753 $ Site History: Notices and Updates / NLA Pandora Archive