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Russian S 400 air defense has been in news
for some time now due to its dreaded Anti Access Area Denial (A2AD) capabilities S 400 can track hundreds of target at a time,
engage up to 36 targets in parallel and simultaneously launch 72 missiles. The system has powerful hardware integrated
with ‘state of art’ software in the backend. S 400 uses multiple radars depending on threat
perception. The primary one is either the 91N6E Big Bird
Acquisition and Battle Management Radar or 92N6E Grave Stone Multimode Engagement Radar
These have a range of around 600 km. The main radar is complimented by target acquisition
radars like 67N6 Gamma De and 9N6 Protivnik Ge radars in L band, Nebo SVU in the Very High-Frequency band & Nebo m & Zebu M in multiband. Nebo SVU & Zebu M have claimed capability
against stealth aircraft. The radars are very resistant to jamming. S 400 deploys multiple missiles to cover its
strike envelope. 1. Short-range 9M96E (40 km) with an active radar
homing head having a speed of Mach 2.6 2. Medium-range 9M96E2 (120 km) with an active
radar homing head having a speed of Mach 3 3. Long-range 48N6 (250 km) with an active radar
homing head having a speed of Mach 14 4. Very-long-range 40N6 (400 km) with an active
radar homing head having a speed of Mach 14 Hence, these missiles are not only guided
by radars of S 400 but also have own active and semi-active radar homing capability enabling
them to keep chasing fast & maneuvering targets till the last moment. The maximum speed of targets for successful
elimination : Mach 14 or 4,800 m/sec. The vertical launch enables missiles of S
400 to have seamless 360-degree target envelop. As evident S 400 is a very capable system & touted to be a game changer by many military experts. In this video Defense Updates, lists 5 renowned
American weapons that are made obsolete by S 400. Let’s get started. The US Air Force officially retired MQ1 Predator
on March 9th, 2018. Predator is now replaced by more capable MQ
9 Reaper, which will be the backbone of US Air Force drone operations going forward. Reaper has an endurance of, 27 hours, a service
ceiling of 50,000 ft, a range of 1,151 mi or 1,852 km and max speed of 300 mph or 482
km/h It has the ability to carry around 2,500 lbs
or 1100 kg of weapons payload through its external hard points. The Reaper’s hard-points give it the ability
to deploy a combination of AGM-114 Hellfire, GBU-12 Paveway, and GBU-38 JDAM munitions. None of these air to ground weapon has the
range that can enable the Reaper to launch them from standoff distances. So, Reaper will need to get in close for a
strike and this will mean it will be in the range of S 400. But when in S 400 range, the slow speed and
limited maneuverability leaves Reaper with no escape route. Boeing AH-64 APACHE is the twin-turboshaft
attack helicopter well known for its deadly offensive prowess. Produced from 1983, the gunship has many variants. It has a maximum speed of 182 mph, 293 km/h
and a range of 295 mi or 476 km. It typically carries short-range air to ground
rockets like Hydra 70 and missiles like AGM-114 Hellfire variants; AIM-92 Stinger and Spike
missiles. These weapons have a very limited range and
AH-64 APACHE will have no way to engage S 400 without getting into its strike range. The AH-64 APACHE is a fast and agile gunship
compared to many of its peers. But this doesn’t change the fact that it was
never meant to dodge supersonic or hypersonic missiles that are employed by S 400. The dreaded gunship stands no chance against
S 400. F 16, F 16 & F 18 fighter jets have been the
workhorse for US Air Force. All of these jets have been kept relevant
with multiple upgrade package and are still considered to be some of the most capable
4th generation fighter jets. The excellent maneuverability and long-range
Air to Air missiles make them a very competent foe. But these jets were not designed to be stealthy
and have fairly large Radar Cross Section (RCS). So, when in the range they have a very low
probability of survival when attacked with a barrage of missiles from S 400. The best case scenario for these jets is to
launch standoff weapons without entering in S 400’s range. The leading options for this is the Joint Air-to-Surface
Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER) which has a range of 925+ km or 575+ mi. The missile is designed to be low observable
and uses GPS aided inertial navigation system for midcourse guidance and infrared homing
in the terminal stage. But due to its subsonic speed, the missile
will take at least 20 mins to travel the last 400 km. This means for 20 mins the missile will be
within the range of S 400 and it will get multiple shots. It is highly unlikely, that the missile will
be able to escape interception. The Tomahawk is the well known long-range,
all-weather, subsonic Land Attack cruise Missile. It is in service from 1983 and the missile
has been used by the American military on several occasions. The missile has a speed of about 550 mph or
890 km/h and maximum range of 2500 km. It is guided by GPS & INS and some variants
also have active radar homing. The missile can be launched from surface combatants,
submarines as well as from land-based launchers. The slow speed, coupled with decent size makes
it an easy target for agile and fast interceptor missiles of S 400. The missile may be able to evade an old air
defense system but has little odds against an advanced integrated air defense system
like the S 400. The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is long-range,
subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber. It has been operated by the United States
Air Force (USAF) since the 1950s. The B-52 was designed and built by Boeing,
which has continued to provide support and upgrades. Superior performance at high subsonic speeds
and relatively low operating costs have kept the B-52 in service despite the advent of
more advanced aircraft, including the variable-geometry B-1 Lancer, and the stealthy B-2 Spirit. After being upgraded between 2013 and 2015,
it is supposed to serve into the 2040s. The B-52s are expected to reach the end of
their service lives by 2045 and be replaced by B-21 Raiders. The B 52 is capable of carrying both conventional
as well as nuclear weapons. This includes normal gravity bombs and AGM-86
air-launched cruise missile. In case of any gravity bombs, B 52 will have
to be in the vicinity S 400 to drop the bombs, the slow & lumbering jet in all probability
will be engaged and taken down well before that. With AGM-86, the B 52 has a better option
than gravity bombs. The AGM-86 is a subsonic air-launched cruise
missile built by Boeing with a range of 1500+ mi or 2,400+ km enabling it to be launched
from well beyond the strike envelope of S 400 But as discussed earlier, the subsonic missiles
will have very little chance of getting a shot at S 400.

Tony wyaad

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