Russian air defense weapons exports amount to USD30 billion since 2000

Russia’s air defense exports have amounted to approximately USD30 billion since late 2000, a spokesperson for JSC Rosoboronexport (a subsidiary of state corporation Rostec) told the TASS news agency on November 20 : “Since its establishment in November 2000, the company has exported air defense weapons worth some USD30 billion to its foreign customers,” he said. According to him, air defense items hold the second place in the structure of the entity’s export structure.
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Buk-M3 air defense system (Picture source: Army Recognition)

In recent years, Russia has paid specific attention to the development of new air defense weapons in almost all segments. The S-400 Triumf seems to be the centerpiece of Russia’s air defense exports. It is the Triumf that has earned the biggest Rosoboronexport’s ever-inked defense contract: in October 2018, India signed for a large batch of S-400 worth a total of some USD5 billion. The Triumf is reported to be among the ADSs with the the longest target engagement ranges: in late April, an S-400 managed to lock a simulated ballistic target at 400 km. The ADS is acquired by several countries, including India, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and Turkey.

At the Army 2020 international military-technical forum held in late August in Kubinka near Moscow, Russia’s leading manufacturer of medium- and long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, the Almaz-Antey Corporation, unveiled its new Antey-4000 long-range air defense system (ADS). Being based on the cutting-edge S-300V4 ADS operated by the Russian Troops, the Antey-4000 fires two types of SAMs, namely, 9M83ME and 9M82MDE. Those missiles have maximum firing ranges of 150 km and 380 km, respectively; it should be mentioned that the previously developed ADSs (for instance, the Antey-2500 system, which is based on the S-300VM) fired those missiles at 130 km and 350 km. The 9M82MDE’s aerodynamic target engagement altitude has increased from 30 km to 33 km.

The Antey-4000 can engage aerodynamic targets flying at a maximum speed of 4,800 m/s (this figure does not exceed 4,500 m/s for the Antey-2500). The range and altitude, at which the new system is capable of destroying tactical missiles, have grown from 30 km to 45 km and from 25 km to 27 km, respectively. Therefore, Russia continues shoring up its positions in the segment of long-range air defense weapons.

The Russian industry also focuses on the medium-range SAM systems. The Viking (an export-oriented variant of the newest Buk-M3 medium-range air defense system) is the latest items of hardware within this category.

It should be mentioned the Russia largely invests in the development of very short-range air defense (VSHORAD) assets. At present, kamikaze drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), combat drones, and various high-precision weapons pose uttermost threats to land hardware and some sensitive pieces of infrastructure. To counter those machines, Russian defense industry has concentrated on the development of VSHORAD weapons capable of shooing down small and low-speed aerial vehicles. This portfolio now comprises the Verba man-portable air defense system (MANPADS), the Tigr 4×4 vehicle-based Gibka tactical anti-aircraft vehicle armed with four ready-to-use either Igla-S or Verba MANPADS, the Pantsir-S1M self-propelled anti-aircraft gun-missile (SPAAGM) system carrying both twelve ready-launch SAMs and two twin-barrel automatic cannons, and the Tor-E2 short-/medium-range self-propelled SAM system. These assets allow a commander to build up a multilayered air defense against drones and various munitions. Russia therefore has managed to build up a well-balanced and robust portfolio of export-oriented air defense weapons that can be brought under a single command-and-control (C2) system.

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