09 August 2007

Russia to export Worlds Most Capable Surface to Air Missile

The S-400 is entering service with the Russian military, and they expect to begin exports in 2009.

It's clear that they are looking at this to be a big seller. It should have some decent capabilities against stealthy aircraft, and it has good anti-cruise missile and anti-tactical ballistic missile capabilities.

Considering the range of the system (over 400km), it would be expected that it would be capable of engaging low radar cross section targets at a much shorter range.

Given that a conventional bomber would have a radar cross section in the 10m2 range, and detection range a function of 4th route of the RCS (i.e. a reduction of 32x in RCS will cut range by 1/2), you get potential detection ranges as follows, assuming 400km for the bomber.

Range
RCS
     Type
400 km
10m2
B-1, F-15
336 km
5m2
F-16
225 km
1m2
F-18E, Rafale
189 km
0.5 m2
Typhoon
48 km
0.00200m2
F-117 (WAG)
40 km
0.00100 m2
F-35
23 km
0.00010 m2
F-22, B2

So you are looking at something like a 15 mile detection range against the stealthiest targets.

Update: This range is for high frequency radars. The S-400 also has a VHF radar, which would diminish the effectiveness of stealth, to some (I don't know what) degree.

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