Russian SAM Troops deputy commander dubs S-350 ‘cruise missile killer’

15 July 2019

Production ready S-350 Vityaz SAM system 50P6 TEL armed with 12 9M96D missiles, each of which has an approximate range of 120 km, displayed at the Army 2019 defence exhibition held in Kubinka close to Moscow on 25–30 June. Source: IHS Markit/Miko Vranic

The deputy commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces' Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) Troops, Colonel Yuri Muravkin, has told the Ministry of Defence (MoD) newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda that the newly adopted S-350 Vityaz SAM system that is to replace the medium-range S-300PS system in the current SAM Troops inventory is a "cruise missile killer".

In an interview to commemorate SAM Troops Day on 8 July, Col Muravkin said that a single S-350 transporter erector launcher (TEL) is armed with three times as many missiles as a single S-300 or S-400 SAM TEL and that the S-350 is capable of repelling simultaneous attacks from any direction. The colonel also stated that the S-350's capabilities make it a priority to equip SAM units stationed on borders and coasts with Vityaz and that a regiment will be retrained for the system in 2020.

Col Muravkin claimed that the Pantsir-S short-range air defence (SHORAD) system had been used to "deal effectively with" Grad rockets fired by the BM-21 multiple rocket launcher system, small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and quadcopters over the last year and a half and had countered air-to-surface missiles and aircraft for a "long time".

The colonel added that the recently unveiled Pantsir-SM will counter future threats such as hypersonic missiles and UAV swarms, stressing that in addition to a new radar, greater processing power, and missiles with greater speed, range, and payload, the Pantsir-SM will use artificial intelligence.

Col Muravkin also stated that because of the proliferation of precision-guided munitions (PGMs), the focus is shifting from area to point air defence with Pantsir systems, while S-400 SAM systems will deal with aircraft before they launch PGMs.

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