A video broadcast on Russian national television revealed that  Russia is working on a new specialized missile for its  S-400 anti-aircraft system. This new weapon promises to improve the range and power of the current 48N6 anti-aircraft missile.

Confirmation of the development of the new missile

Dmitri Medvedev, secretary of the Council of the Russian Federation, validated the information presented in the video, detailing that the project seeks to offer a missile with greater capabilities in range, precision and power of its warhead. This improvement can potentially transform the military strategic scenario, given the already recognized effectiveness of the  S-400 system.

Ukrainian forces destroy Russian S-400 in Crimea
Ukrainian forces destroy Russian S-400 in Crimea.

Primarily, the  S-400  employs the  48N6 series of missiles, capable of hitting air targets up to 150 km away and intercepting ballistic missiles at a range of 60 km with a 143 kg explosive fragmentation warhead. The missile under development is an upgrade of the 48N6, now for ground attack purposes.

Although concrete information is still pending, expectations lean towards a missile with a range considerably greater than 150 km and a warhead that would exceed 180 kg, significantly increasing its destructive capacity.

Tests and characteristics of the new missile

Russia upgrades S-400 for ground attacksRussian S-400 missile

According to the videos released, the new missile was tested at the Kapustin Yar training ground. Russian authorities have highlighted its radio guidance and its “high precision.” Although progress is evident, it is still in the early stages of development.

Implications of strengthening the S-400

The  S-400  is already an anti-aircraft system noted for its versatility and power. Adding the ground attack ability would make it an even more valuable resource in strategic terms. This innovation could have an impact not only in  Russia but also in countries that have acquired this system, such as  Turkey and  India.

To provide context, a standard  S-400 battery consists of several essential components: a command post, a detection and tracking radar, and several missile launchers. These launchers can carry between four and six missiles. The  S-400  is capable of firing different types of missiles to engage a wide range of targets, from fighter aircraft to ballistic missiles.

Among the most frequently used missiles are the  48N6, with a range of up to 150 km; the  40N6, with a range of 400 km; and the  9M96, a shorter missile with a 120 km range. These can be equipped with various warheads, including high-explosive fragmentation warheads, to enhance their effectiveness against different targets.