Meet Russia’s S-350 Air Defense System: What You Need To Know

January 3, 2019

The National Interest:

Russia’s Ministry of Defense revealed in late December of 2018 that Russian Aerospace Forces will begin taking delivery of the S-350 Vityaz short-mid range surface-to-air missile defense system this year. The statement also announced the deployment of a dozen Pantsir-S and S-400 Triumf air defense complexes in the same year.

The Russian military has long planned to replace their aging S-300 short-range missile defense system. The original, Soviet S-300P underwent a series of minor upgrades over the span of several decades, focused on implementing more powerful, longer-range missiles. But the manufacturer, Almaz Antey, found themselves brushing up against the technical limits of the S-300 platform with the late 1990’s S-300PMU-2 iteration.

With the S-300 having run its course, a new missile system engineered with modern design principles was in order. As military expert Andrei Frolov put it to Russian news, “Vityaz is a fundamentally new system, not a modernization of Soviet systems, which makes it even better than the Buk-M3 [missile defense system].”

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