The S-400 Triumf — NATO calls it SA-21 Growler — is a modern long-range surface-to-air missile (MLR SAM) system developed by Russia. First used in 2007, the S-400 is an upgrade of the S-300 series of missile systems put in place for the defence of Moscow. India and Russia have been discussing the purchase of the S-400 Triumf since 2015. Several countries have shown interest in the S-400, which is considered way ahead of the American THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system though both are different weapon systems.
The missile system integrates a multifunction radar, autonomous detection and targeting systems, anti-aircraft missile systems, launchers, and command and control centre. It can provide a layered defence as it is capable of firing three types of missiles.
The S-400 Trimuf can engage all types of aerial targets such as aircraft, ballistic and cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), which are within the range of 400km, at an altitude of up to 30km. It can track 100 airborne targets, including super fighters such as the American built F-35, and engage six of them simultaneously.
Army Technology, a site for news and procurement in the defence industry, describes the missile system as “two-times more effective than previous Russian air defence systems and can be deployed within five minutes.”
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Capable of using four new missile types in addition to the earlier S-300PMU system, the S-400 can destroy airborne targets within the range of 250km. The 92N6E radar of the defence system, can detect and track aircraft, rotorcraft, cruise missiles, guided missiles, drones and ballistic rockets within the distance of 600km.
The SP85TE2 launchers are based on the BAZ-64022 6×6 tractor truck or MAZ-79100 series Transporter-Erector-Launcher (TEL) vehicle. The TEL vehicle can carry up to four launch tubes holding a mix of missiles.
The S-400 defence system has been deployed in Syria in 2015 to guard Russian and Syrian naval and air assets. Russia has also stationed S-400 units in Crimea to strengthen its position in the annexed peninsula.