According to official Russian claims, three Ukrainian S-300 surface-to-air missile systems allegedly had their radars damaged in the Donetsk People’s Republic around the middle of March. This may be the case despite the Kremlin’s tendency to make false claims.
Both Russia and Ukraine operate the Russian-made mobile air defense system in the ongoing invasion. The S-300 is Russia’s and the Soviet’s mainstay air defense system, and it’s the closest thing Moscow has to the US Patriot air and missile defense system.
What is the S-300 missile system?
Nicknamed SA-Grumble by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the S-300 is considered to be one of the most powerful anti-aircraft missile systems currently in use worldwide.
Designed in Soviet times, the S-300 was to replace the outdated S-25 Berkut and S-75 Dvina mobile SAM launchers. In the late 1960s, the Almaz Central Design Bureau began work on the system, which finally entered service in 1978.
S-300 in the world
Since entering service, the S-300 has been exported to some two dozen countries. The former Eastern Bloc countries and Greece, China, Iran, and Bulgaria have this formidable anti-aircraft missile device. More modern variants have appeared over the years, with different missiles, improved radar, longer range, and other significant modifications.
The S-300 is a family of systems.
The conventional missile has a range of up to 93 miles, and its warheads weigh around 300 pounds, as the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) reports.
The original S-300P, the S-300V, and the S-300F are the three primary sub-variants that make up the S-300 family of systems. The S-300P anti-aircraft missile system is an earlier model and thus less capable than its successors.
S-300PMU-2 Favorit is the most advanced version of this model and can destroy cruise missiles and other precision-guided missiles. The S-300V is the second variant of the S-300 family.
This model is equipped with ballistic missile defense capabilities, a step up from the original variant. The third and final variant of the S-300 family is the “F” model, designed to be mounted on ships.
The Antey 2500, the most recent upgraded variant of the S-300V, has a range of 350 kilometers and entered service roughly a decade ago. Reuters reports that this system has “high tactical and technical characteristics that enable it to be used for the air defense of the most important administrative, industrial, and military installations, groups of troops, coastal infrastructures, and stationed naval forces.”
The S-300 plays to both sides in the Russo-Ukrainian conflict.
Moscow maintains its offensive actions in Ukraine with both older S-300P and newer S-300V units. Russia’s deployment of its S-300 fleet of long-range SAMs to attack ground targets in the battle was closely watched by Ukraine last October.
S-300: Ukraine vs. Russia
Quite apart from the S-300s’ apparent lack of surface-to-surface capability, this development highlights Moscow’s critical lack of long-range weaponry. Before the invasion, Ukraine had about 250 S-300 systems in its arsenal. Several more have since been delivered to Ukraine as part of military packages.