S-400 vs. Patriot 3

The Russian S400 and the American Patriot 3 are the most advanced medium and long-range air defense missile systems. Both are the hottest missile defense system on the international arms market.

The Patriot 3 is standard for many U.S. allies, and only the closest can get it. The S400 is also very popular with buyers, and even some U.S. allies (such as Turkey) want to equip the S400. So what are the characteristics of Patriot 3 and S400? 

S-400 vs. Patriot 3 missile Defense System. Which is better? Let’s find out.

The Patriot 3 missile has significantly improved ballistic missiles’ interception distance and accuracy over the Patriot 2. 

Ground radar, an engagement control station, a launch system, and an interceptor missile are the four primary components of Patriot 3.

The engagement control station provides command, control, communications, and fire control for the Patriot 3, which can be computer-assisted or autonomously controlled. 

The ground-based radar uses the AN/MPQ-53G phased array radar to provide early warning, tracking, and target information.

Launchers and missiles are primarily responsible for attacking targets. The Patriot 3 missile has 

a maximum interception altitude of 20 kilometers, 

a minimum interception altitude of 300 meters,

a maximum interception distance of 50 kilometers,

a minimum interception distance of 500 meters

a maximum flight speed of Mach 5. 

Patriot 3 has anti-saturated solid air strike ability, fast search speed, strong tracking ability, short reaction time, can attack multiple targets simultaneously, strong anti-electronic interference ability, and strong informatization ability.

S400 is an updated variant of S300PMU3, Russia‘s most advanced land-based missile system.

It is based on the S300’s command and control system, missile launch unit, and fighting unit. The S400’s tactical unit is the regiment, which is supported by 83M6 automated command systems and eight surface-to-air missile battalions.

The 83M6 system includes:

  • A 64H6 phased array radar.
  • A 54K6 command post.
  • A large fire control computer and a phased array over-the-horizon radar with a detection range of up to 750 kilometers.

Each surface-to-air missile battalion also contains a 36H6 illumination guidance radar, a 76H6 low-altitude search radar, and 12 5P855 or 5P85T missile launch vehicles.

The S400 can use eight air defense missiles with different performances, including 48N6DM, 9M96E, 9M96M, 48N6 and 40N6, etc. The 40N6 missile has a maximum range of 500 kilometers and can be used to attack early warning aircraft. 

WITH A HIGH SUCCESS RATE, the S400 can intercept ballistic missiles at 50-60 kilometers. The S400 also has several radars, search, and guiding modes, such as VHF, L, S, X-band, and low-altitude search modes, and it can simultaneously target 85 targets, attack 48 targets, and use multi-band to aid in the search

S400 can be used for positional and mobile defense as a land-based mobile air defense missile system.

It has defense capabilities from ultra-low to high altitude, close range to medium and long-range airspace. It has specific anti-stealth properties and can effectively protect against saturating airstrikes.

Target and anti-ballistic missile capabilities:

From a performance point of view, the S400 can maneuver defense, use vertical launch, and cover all directions. The Patriot 3 can only fix the shooting area, and it isn’t easy to achieve omnidirectional coverage. 

In addition, the S-400 can integrate multiple air defense missile systems for integrated control and command, and a single launcher can launch four missiles.

While the Patriot 3 cannot integrate other air defense systems, one launcher can carry 16 ERINT anti-missile missiles. 

The S400 also has the capability of autonomous detection and tracking, which can operate under the condition of obtaining external information. 

To support its operations, Patriot 3 requires an air situation support system. The S400 has a maximum interception range of 400-500 kilometers, whereas the Patriot 3 has a range of only 50 kilometers. As a result, the S400 is unquestionably the superior party in performance.

However, although the S400 seems to be more dominant in performance, the combat positioning of the Patriot 3 is more inclined to anti-missile operations.

Its primary mission is terminal anti-ballistic missile operations. It employs kinetic energy interceptors and a high-speed impact mode to attack missiles.

This is more advanced than the S-400’s firepower and more technically difficult. The Patriot 3 must ensure a certain interception success rate. its overall technical level and interception accuracy are far superior to the S-400

The S-400 focuses more on system air defense operations, while the Patriot 3 focuses on anti-missile processes. 

The key interception method at the end of the U.S. land-based anti-missile network is very different from the S-400. Patriot missiles have participated in many actual battles since the Gulf War. 

Although the performance is exaggerated, it is generally reasonable. The S-400 currently has no actual combat experience. Although its performance is advanced, it still needs to be tested in actual combat.

The S-400 is a very advanced air defense system, which can effectively intercept air targets from low altitude to high altitude, from short-range to long-range, and has a certain anti-missile capability. 

The Patriot 3 is more focused on terminal anti-missile and is more advanced in technical level and accuracy. The S-400 is more suitable for countries that urgently need advanced air defense systems to reinforce air defense capabilities, while the Patriot 3 is more of an integral part of the U.S. global anti-missile strategy. 

Therefore, although both are air missile defense systems, they are still quite different, and their performances are also different. The S-400 is more comprehensive, while the Patriot 3’s anti-missile capabilities are more advanced.