The interest of Saudi Arabia to such a system is clear. 19 December 2017 of the year Saudi air defense intercepted a Burkan-2 ballistic missile launched from Yemen’s territory in southern Riyadh, which was similar to the one that was shot down near the capital of the kingdom 4 on November 2017 of the year. Was the missile really shot down or did it simply deviate from the course and fell in an uninhabited area is not known for certain? It is reported that as a result of the incident no one was hurt. Hussites themselves recognized the fact of a missile strike. According to the grouping, the aim of the launch was the royal palace of al-Yamamah in the capital of Saudi Arabia.
This attack was the second to be carried out from the territory of Yemen over the past few months. In Yemen, the military conflict continues, which in its scale is comparable to the fighting in Syria. Saudi Arabia acts as the main ideologist of the military operation, which is conducted on the territory of a neighboring state. The ballistic missile that the Hussites used is the “Burkan-2” from Iran. The missile has a detachable warhead (unlike the Burkan-1, which is a modernized Soviet P-17). Judging by its tactical and technical characteristics, this ballistic missile can really reach Riyadh, as well as numerous oil fields of the country. 23 December 2017, the UN Security Council condemned the missile attack on the Saudi capital by Yemeni rebels.
The danger for Saudi Arabia today is also represented by the Soviet-made P-17 Scud tactical missiles, as well as the Kahir and Zelzal tactical missiles built on the basis of another Soviet Luna-M missile system. These Hussite missiles are also quite actively used for strikes on the territory of the kingdom, in some cases they do lead to a large number of casualties among the military. Hussites and reworked missiles of C-75 SAM systems are used, which are not intended for attacking ground targets.
Against this background, Riyadh’s interest in modern air defense and missile defense systems is quite understandable. Saudi Arabia has a substantive interest in the American mobile missile defense system THAAD, and options have been voiced for buying a modern C-400 Triumph air defense system in Russia. It is believed that the issue of the supply of Russian air defense systems was discussed during a personal meeting of the King of Saudi Arabia with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in October 2017, where a positive decision was reached on their sale.
These news generated interest in comparing the two THAAD and C-400 systems. However, this comparison is not correct, since we are talking about systems with different specializations. The American THAAD system (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) is a mobile land-based missile defense system designed for high-altitude atmospheric destruction of medium-range ballistic missiles. At the same time, the Russian C-400 anti-aircraft missile system is designed primarily for hitting aerodynamic targets (aircraft, helicopters, drones, cruise missiles), its ability to combat ballistic targets is limited in range and height. In this case, of course, the Russian system is more universal. THAAD’s capabilities in the fight against maneuverable targets and aircraft are minimal, while using such a missile defense system would be tantamount to hammering nails, especially considering the cost of US missile defense.
The ground-based mobile missile system THAAD, intended for high-altitude over-atmospheric interception of medium-range missiles during the creation of a zonal missile defense system in a theater of military operations, was developed in the USA since 1992. The developer of the system is Lockheed Martin Corporation. The cost of R & D on the creation of an anti-missile complex is estimated at about 15 billion dollars. Currently THAAD missile system is in service with the United States and the United Arab Emirates. In 2017, the THAAD battery was placed in South Korea, and their deployment in Japan is also planned. The appearance of the THAAD complex in South Korea was attributed by the United States to the need to protect the country from the missile threat from the DPRK, while China and Russia reacted very negatively to this step.
THAAD anti-missile system was originally sharpened by the fight with medium-range and short-range ballistic missiles. The system is able to destroy ballistic targets at an altitude beyond the limits of conventional air defense systems - 150 kilometers and distance to 200 kilometers. With the help of this mobile complex, you can create the first line of zone missile defense. The characteristics of this anti-missile system allow it to consistently fire one ballistic target with two anti-missiles on the “start-up-start-up” principle, that is, the second rocket is launched if the first one could not hit the target. In the event that the second rocket cannot hit the ballistic target, the usual air defense system, the Patriot, will be used, which receives target designation from the THAAD radar for a broken rocket. According to the calculations of American experts, the probability of hitting a ballistic missile with such a layered missile defense system is more than 0,96 (and the probability of hitting a target with a single THAAD missile is estimated at 0,9).
THAAD anti-rocket consists of a warhead and an engine, the only (separable) stage is a solid propellant starting engine. The characteristics of this engine make it possible to accelerate the rocket up to speed 2800 m / s, which made it possible to realize the possibility of re-firing a ballistic target with a second interceptor missile. The missile's warhead is a highly maneuverable direct hit interceptor, it is also called the “Kill Vehicle”.
All this makes obvious the differences between THAAD and C-400 and the apparent tension of comparing these two systems. The newest anti-aircraft missile 40H6E of the Russian Triumph complex is the most long-range missile of the complex, the range of targets being hit with its use increases to 400 kilometers, but this is about aerodynamic purposes. The range of destruction of ballistic targets using the C-400 complex is limited to 60 kilometers, and the altitude of the targets hit - 30 kilometers. At the same time, experts note that the height indicator of the defeat, if we are talking about the interception of operational tactical missiles, is not a critical indicator. “In the theater’s missile defense, the destruction of targets takes place on descending trajectories and not in space,” former deputy commander-in-chief of the Air Force for the joint air defense system of the CIS countries, Lieutenant-General Aytech Bezhiv, said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
It is easy to see that the American THAAD has a noticeable advantage in terms of the range and height of the destruction of ballistic targets, which is due to the objectives for which it was created - the defeat of medium-range ballistic missiles. At the same time, the Russian C-400 air defense system with a smaller height range is armed with missiles with a longer range to destroy all types of aerodynamic targets - at a distance of up to 400 kilometers and tactical ballistic targets at a range of up to 60 m / s
The second important difference between THAAD and C-400 is the method of hitting the target. The American rocket hits the target with a kinetic effect, that is, hits the rocket itself. Its combat unit is a highly maneuverable interceptor. It is a technically sophisticated device that searches for, captures and hits a target, using only the kinetic energy of high-speed exposure. One of the main features of this interceptor is a gyro-stabilized multispectral infrared homing head (IR-GOS). In addition to the IK-GOS, the single-stage interceptor THAAD is equipped with a command-inertial control system, a power source, a computer, as well as its own propulsion system for maneuvering and orientation. At the same time, anti-aircraft missiles of the Russian Triumph C-400 air defense system strike air targets due to a cloud of fragments formed after the missile warhead in the immediate vicinity of the target.
A common feature of all modern air defense systems and missile defense systems is the requirement for them to destroy the combat load of the attacker's means of attack. The result of intercepting a target should be, for example, ensuring that the attack load of an attacking missile falls directly in the area of the object to be defended. This possibility can be fully excluded only if the combat load of the target is destroyed in the process of interception by its anti-aircraft missile. This result can be achieved in two ways: direct hit of a rocket into the compartment of the warhead of the target, or with a combination of a small miss and effective impact on the target with a cloud of fragments of the warhead of an anti-aircraft guided missile. In the USA, the first approach was chosen for THAAD, in Russia, the second for C-400.
It is also worth noting that the C-400 can fire 360 degrees, while THAAD has a limited shelling sector. For example, the Russian anti-aircraft missiles 9М96Е and 9М96Е2, optimized for combat with modern high-precision weapons, cruise missiles and ballistic targets, including unobtrusive ones, use a “cold” vertical launch. Immediately before launching its main engine, the rockets are thrown out of the container to a height of more than 30 meters. After climbing to this height, the anti-aircraft missile with the help of a gas-dynamic system leans towards a predetermined target.
An important difference between the two complexes is also their radar. The American system has the best vision. The detection range of the AN / TPY-2 radar is 1000 kilometers versus 600 kilometers off the C-400 complex. The AN / TPY-2 multifunction radar operates in the X-band and consists of 25 344 active MRPs. This is a radar with an active phased array (AFAR). AFAR consists of active radiating elements, each of which consists of a radiating element and an active device (transceiver module - MRP). The very high resolution and vigilance of the American radar is achieved by a huge number of anti-personnel mines and the most complex signal processing algorithm. At the same time it costs the American radar a lot of money, the cost of an innovative radar can exceed 500 million dollars.
Radar AN / TPY-2
Experts believe that Saudi Arabia, despite the decision to purchase a THAAD PRO system, can also acquire Russian C-400 systems. These systems will not be able to be controlled from a single command post in an automated mode, but this does not exclude their combat use separately. Systems can be deployed in different places of the country or even as part of protecting one important object while solving different tasks and thus complementing each other, military expert Mikhail Khodaryon said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
According to him, Saudi Arabia’s desire to buy both American and Russian systems may be dictated by various considerations. For example, after Operation Storm in the Desert, during which the French anti-aircraft missile systems in service with Iraq’s air defense systems suddenly became inoperative, potential buyers treat the weapons acquired in the West with some caution. Mikhail Khodorenok notes that there can be “bookmarks” in American weapons, for example, the Jordan’s F-16 air force cannot knock down the F-16 Israeli air force. In this case, buying a C-400 can help diversify risks. If American tactical ballistic missiles or medium-range missiles are used to strike the territory of Saudi Arabia, C-400 can knock them down.
Experts believe that the contract of Saudi Arabia with the United States is not an alternative to the contract with Russia on C-400, since both systems are not mutually exclusive, but complementary, they can be used independently. As a means of air defense to combat the aerodynamic objectives of the C-400 significantly surpasses the US Patriot air defense systems.
Its value can play and price. The cost of the C-400 division with 8 launchers is of the order of 500 million dollars. So in December, 2017, the details of the contract for the supply of C-400 Triumph missiles to Turkey became known. Ankara is to receive 4 of the C-400 division for a total of about 2,5 billions of dollars. At the same time, the Pentagon’s Office for Defense Cooperation and Security announced that the cost of a deal with Saudi Arabia for the supply of THAAD missile defense systems was about 15 billion dollars. Under the contract, the kingdom will receive 44 launchers, 16 command and control centers, 7 radars, and 360 interceptor missiles for this complex from the United States.
Open source materials