According to a recent report by Russian state media, the Russian Navy’s Project 22350M will be equipped with surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) with a maximum range of 400 kilometers.

These SAMs are reportedly derived from the 40N6 interceptor missiles of Russia’s most advanced air defense system, the S-400.

“The Poliment-Redut system to be installed on the upgraded project 22350M frigates will feature super-long-range heavy missiles capable of hitting air targets at a maximum distance of 400 km, in addition to medium- and long-range air defense missiles,” an anonymous insider from the Russian defense industry told TASS on February 3.

Project 22350M is a supersized version of the project 22350 Admiral Gorshkov class frigates. The Admiral Gorshkov warship has recently made headlines for its ongoing expedition in the Atlantic ocean. It is the first time a warship with hypersonic missiles has seen combat.

Next, Admiral Gorshkov will join naval exercises with the Chinese and South African navies scheduled for February 17-27 in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of South Africa near Durban and Richards Bay.

Two Poliment-Redut launchers, each with 16 missiles, are aboard Admiral Gorshkov’s ship. To counter this, Admiral Amelko, the fifth frigate of her class, will be equipped with four launchers, each of which can fire eight missiles. Larger versions of Project 22350M will include 48 missiles and six launchers.

Currently, these Poliment-Redut missile launchers can fire missiles with a strike range of 150 kilometers. However, the new 400-kilometer missiles will triple their interception range, reportedly allowing ships to control areas seven times larger.

The Russian defense industry source explained that such a tripling of interception range would enable Russian frigates to take on NATO’s long-range airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft.

The naval version of the S-400 missiles?

Some believe the new 400-kilometer SAMs is a naval version of the S-400’s longest-range interceptor, the 40N6 missile.

Apparently, this naval version of the 40N6 missile has been developing for over a decade. Although its performance characteristics have not been specified, Russian reports suggest that the missile will perform similarly to the 40N6.

s-400

The 40N6 was designed and developed by Russian missile manufacturer MKB Fakel and reportedly manufactured by Moscow-based company MMZ Avangard.

Although Russia unveiled the missile in 2018, it reportedly suffered repeated test failures, so it was not put into serial production until 2019.

The missile is primarily deployed against high-value air targets such as EW and reconnaissance aircraft, air command posts, strategic bombers, hypersonic cruisers, and ballistic missiles.

According to government sources, the greatest range of the missile against aerodynamic targets is reportedly 380 kilometers, while the shortest range is reportedly 5 kilometers. To put it in perspective, the highest altitude from which it can launch an attack is 30 kilometers.

The missile travels at an average speed of around Mach 3.4, with a top speed of about Mach 9. It reportedly has a top speed of Mach 3.4 when it comes to hitting its targets. With a top speed of Mach 15.6, it can easily destroy its targets.

The missile carries an explosive fragmentation warhead and is also equipped with active guidance radar, which allows it to destroy targets outside of the radio visibility of ground locators. The missile is said to be 95 percent accurate.

In the same way, as US, Japanese, and South Korean AEGIS destroyers contribute to strategic air defense with the help of the SM-3 and SM-6 missiles, so too may Russian frigates with a naval variant of the 40N6 missile.

Russia, China, and North Korea all use ships for deploying their ballistic missile defenses, but the country Russia has so far elected to use land-mobile launchers instead.

Therefore, integrating long-range ballistic missile defense systems aboard the Project 22350M frigates may also allow them to complement the ground-based S-400 and S-500 air defense systems.

With their 400-kilometer-range SAMs and Tsirkon hypersonic missiles, the Project 22350M frigates are in a league of their own regarding offensive and defensive capabilities that few other ship types can match.