The information and communications department of the Russian Ministry of Defense has reported that the Russian Aerospace Forces will get the S-350 "Vityaz" air defense missile system. The new weapon will considerably surpass S-300 air defense system in terms of its combat capacity and will ultimately replace it.
The goal of replacing the Favorit with the Vityaz is to form a multilevel defense system that is capable of protecting aerospace from drones, low flying objects, manned aircraft, and cruise and ballistic missiles. The effectiveness of S-350 was confirmed in many tests both in Russia and in foreign countries.
What is a Vityaz? This is a medium-range air defense missile system developed by the Almaz-Antei Concern under the supervision of chief engineer Ilya Isakov.
Today it is hard to believe that the "gifted child" of Russian arms designers could have never been delivered. The thing is that in 2007, when the development of the Vityaz began, Almaz-Antei was to say the least in a bad financial situation, and the new project was about to be closed. And it was a stroke of luck that it wasn't. The concern won South Korea's tender for an advanced air defense missile system. Russia beat such arms market giants as the USA and France. Actually, South Korea gave funds and Russian specialists brought their ideas on the Vityaz into reality.
So, what is written on the passport of the Russian knight of the aerospace front?
The Vityaz air defense missile system consists of three wheeled units: eight 50P6A launchers, two 50N6A multifunctional radars and the 50K6A command post on the BAZ 69092-012 eight-wheeler produced by the Bryansk Automobile Plant.
The main combat characteristics are as follows: 470 horsepower diesel engine, 15.8 tonnes of curb weight, 14.2 tonnes of payload and 30 tonnes of gross weight. The maximum elevation angle is 30 degrees. The system is capable of passing fords up to 1.7 meters in depth. It can hit up to 16 air and up to 12 ballistic targets at once. It can simultaneously target 32 guided air defense missiles. The maximum operating distance is 60 kilometers and the maximum operating altitude is 30 kilometers for air targets. As for ballistic targets, the maximum distance is 30 kilometers and the maximum altitude is 25 kilometers. It will take no more than 5 minutes to put a transiting system on operation readiness. The combat crew is 3 people.
What are the main differences of S-350 from legendary S-300? Primarily, it is the number of missiles. The Vityaz has 12 missiles, whereas the Favorit just 4. Secondly, it is the firing rate. The Vityaz's firing rate is even higher than that of some multiple rocket systems. S-350 is capable of firing all of its missiles in just 22 seconds, while the Smerch multiple rocket system will launch the same number of missiles in about 40 seconds.
The Vityaz has more "eyes." If S-300 can track targets in a 90-degree sector, the Vityaz can attack aerial vehicles flying in any direction.
The designers also took care about the crew's safety. For example, the radar is separated from the command post. This will save the crew if an enemy fires a missile that is homed onto radars, the radar will be destroyed but people will be saved. The maximum distance of a radar from the command post is 2 kilometers.
Another advantage of S-350 is that it is as automatic as possible. The crew should just switch the system on and choose an operating mode. The system will then independently detect, lock on and track aerial targets. The crew will just need to press the launch button.
Now a few words about the system's combat capacity. One Vityaz squadron is capable of hitting 16 aerial and 12 ballistic missiles at once at a distance of up to 60 kilometers and at an altitude from 10 meters to 30 kilometers. So, it is easy to see that real combat capacity of the Vityaz is much higher than that of S-300.
The Russian Ministry of Defense intends to buy at least 38 Vityaz sets. In order to accomplish the task, plants that will produce advanced missile systems and radars are being built in Kirov and Nizhny Novgorod. The Russian Aerospace Forces are awaiting replenishment with the "recruits" of the third millennium.