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‘Buddy Hunter’ To S-400, Russia To Display Its S-350E Vityaz Defense System At China’s Zhuhai Air Show

Russia’s bonhomie with its Asian partner China will be on full display once again as Moscow exhibits its cutting-edge air defense systems at the much anticipated Zhuhai Air Show.

Russia’s state-owned arms company Rosoboronexport said in a press release that it would display its cutting-edge S-400 Triumf and S-350E Vityaz air defense systems, aircraft, helicopters, and aerial weaponry at the Zhuhai Air Show 2022.

The air show is slated to begin today, November 8, and will conclude on November 13.

“This year we will showcase in Zhuhai the best and latest products from Russian aircraft and helicopter manufacturers, effective weapons, air, and missile defense solutions,” the press office quoted Rosoboronexport CEO Alexander Mikheyev as saying.

S-350 missile system - Wikipedia
S-350 missile system – Wikipedia

According to the press office, Rosoboronexport will display a variety of air defense assets, including the S-400 Triumf long-range and S-350E Vityaz medium-range air defense systems, the Tor-E2 short-range surface-to-air missile system, Verba man-portable air defense systems, as well as several automated command and control systems for air defense units.

EurAsian Times had reported in July that Russia was deploying the deadly Vityaz S-350 anti-aircraft missile system in the Leningrad Region. Just a month later, the system was deployed at an airbase over 40 miles away from Ukraine in what was touted to be its first operational combat deployment.

The S-350, which reportedly started serial production in March 2019 and went into service in February 2020, can target aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles. The S-350’s area defense capabilities provide security for additional vital targets or infrastructures close to where it is stationed.

Besides Russia, there were rumors that Algeria has also reportedly made the first deployment of the S-350 Vityaz near the border with Morocco. There has been no formal confirmation of the sale of this air defense system from either side.

However, there was a hint when an Algerian TV network aired photographs of the S-350 in the background of the meetings of Algerian Defense officials.

Even though the S-400 Triumf system has been exported to several buyers like NATO member Turkey and countries like China and India, the S-350 is yet to make it big in the export market.

Russia would potentially use an exhibition at China’s most-awaited and keenly followed air show to market one of its latest air defense systems.

S-350 Vityaz

The S-350 Vityaz is a short-to-mid-range air defense missile system. It has primarily been developed by Almaz-Antey Corporation to replace the outdated S-300PS, created in the early 1980s, and the Buk M1-2 system, which has been used for over 20 years.

The Vityaz S-350 is designed to counter threats from sophisticated standoff weapons, including tactical ballistic missiles, manned (including stealth) aircraft, medium and heavy unmanned aerial vehicles, and cruise missiles.

The S-350 is mounted on wheels, thus making it highly mobile and allowing it to be deployed in a combat position within minutes, while the launchers, radars, and control center can all be situated within several kilometers of the S-350 air defense system.

Although the maximum firing range is approximately 60 kilometers, analysts believe it may be as much as 120 kilometers.

Launcher for the export-optimized S-350E version of the system-Wikimedia Commons

Twelve launchers, each with 12 missiles, make up an S-350 division. That is, there are a total of 144 pieces in the salvo.

According to the system manufacturer, the S-350 outperforms its competitors in terms of the number of missiles in its arsenal and the improved anti-jamming resistance of its radar, which can monitor the environment from all angles thanks to its circular scanning mode.

Company CEO Yan Novikov said in an interview that S-350 can serve as a second-tier posture alongside S-400 air defenses, boosting the density of surface-to-air fire, and is compatible with all air defense systems.

It can also obtain information from other complexes. “The Vityaz is capable of providing air defense on its own. There are no other medium-range systems with such characteristics in the world,” he added.

The advantage of the S-350 is that it can fire missiles designed for point defense and long/medium-range engagements. It is perfect for securing sensitive infrastructure that might be attacked concurrently by several threats and weapons.

The S-350 can engage eight targets with two missiles each while simultaneously detecting and tracking up to 40 other targets.

Each launcher can carry twelve missiles from the 9M96 series from the 50P6 series. Additionally, the integration of 9M100 missiles with a shorter 6–9 mile range is proposed. With all these features, Russia hopes to attract customers to this system.

“As part of the Airshow China 2022 business program, the Rosoboronexport delegation is ready to make presentations of the latest Russian weapons and military equipment and hold negotiations on their supply or joint production in the format of industrial partnership,” the press office said.

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