MOSCOW ($1= Russian Rubles) — The Russian Armed Forces have deployed at least one new-generation S-350 Vityaz air defense system. The S-350 Vityaz anti-aircraft missile system has been spotted at airfields used for the war in Ukraine.
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The S-350 Vityaz has recently been in service in Russia. This missile system is of medium range. It was developed by Almaz-Antey. Serial production started only two years ago – 2020.
The S-350 Vityaz uses three types of missiles – 9M96E2, 9M96E, and 9M100. Its range depends on these three missiles, the minimum is 1-2 km and the maximum is 120 km. Similar is the dependence in which the launched rocket flies at a certain height – minimum 8 km, maximum 30 km. Most commonly, the missile’s warhead weighs 24 kg [53 lb]. The maximum speed with which it intercepts is 1,800 m/s.
The S-350 Vityaz can engage [intercept] up to 16 aerodynamic air targets or 12 ballistic ones at any one time. 32 are rockets that can be fired at the same time.
S-350 Vityaz works with multifunctional passively electronically scanned array radar stations. 360° coverage for early detection, target illumination, and missile guidance. It also has a command post and fully autonomous combat work with interaction with other remote systems. The S-350 Vityaz has between 4 and 8 launchers. Missile guidance is different – passive, active, or infrared active homing.
In addition to land, the S-350 Vityaz also has a naval version. All vehicles are based on Bryansky Avtomobilny Zavod chassis [BAZ-6909 & BAZ-69092]. The S-350 Vityaz has an export version. In addition to Russia, the S-350 Vityaz is also in service in Algeria.
It was only in 2013 that the S-350 Vityaz was officially presented to the world, although the development was stopped six years earlier. It is believed that failed missile tests initially delayed the development of the system. According to the original Russian plans, 30 units should enter service in the composition of the Russian air defense. Currently, there are not that many units in service as development and production have been delayed from previously announced plans.
There is no information in which region of Ukraine exactly the S-350 Vityaz is located. However, it is clear from the photos that the system is located at an airport. Strangely, this system guards the airfield in the rear, because it would be most effective [unlike other air defense systems of the Russian Federation] in protecting objects such as the Zaporizhzhia NPP or the Antonovsky Bridge [provided that it is well covered by smaller air defense systems].
Russian experts say that thanks to missiles with ARGSN and a large channel, the S-350 Vityaz has a much better chance of shooting down a GMLRS package.
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