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Russia Reveals ‘S-350’ Battlefield Surface-to-Air Missile System

The Russian military has announced the arrival of a new, short-range, high-tech air-defense system capable of supporting the existing S-400s and knocking out incoming ballistic missiles as well as aerodynamic targets.

According to the Russian government’s TASS news agency, this new system, dubbed the Vityaz S-350, represents a technical leap forward in supporting existing air defenses within altitudes of 30 kilometers.

“The S-350 ‘Vityaz’ was engineered by the Almaz-Antey defense manufacturer as a battlefield air defense weapon capable of striking targets within a radius of 60 km and at an altitude of 30 km. The air defense system is designed to fight both aerodynamic and ballistic targets. An S-350 launcher is outfitted with 12 surface-to-air missiles,” TASS reported.

The Russians claim that the new S-350 can destroy both “existing and future air attack weapons,” a claim that is both ambiguous yet ambitious. In some respect, this is nothing new; the Russians have long claimed (without evidence) that their upgraded S-400 and S-500 air defenses are capable of detecting and striking stealth aircraft. And while modern Russian air defenses are believed to be quite advanced, detecting that an aircraft that is in the vicinity is quite different from being able to precisely track, target, and destroy a stealth aircraft moving at high speeds. It is not clear at all that even the most advanced Russian air defenses can actually engage and destroy existing U.S. stealth aircraft, to say nothing of newer stealth applications on emerging platforms like the B-21 Raider stealth bomber and already-airborne six-generation stealth fighter. Both the B-21 and sixth-generation aircraft are likely to incorporate new, paradigm-changing stealth capabilities that have not yet been disclosed.