The administration of US President Donald Trump continues to insist on the sale of the latest AGM-84H / K SLAM-ER air-to-ground missiles to Taiwan, which are positioned as a vital means of countering a potential conflict with China.
At the same time, Beijing will use the well-known Russian S-400 Triumph air defense system to defend its territory.
But can the S-400 protect China from a massive attack using new US missiles?
- the edition asks Russia Beyond, noting that the answer is ambiguous.
Omnivorous air defense
According to him, Moscow sold two batteries of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems to Beijing in 2017 and delivered the first batch a year later. Each battery contains 4 launchers armed with 4 missiles, giving a total of 16 anti-missiles per battery, capable of shooting down fifth generation fighters and cruise missiles at ranges of up to 200 km.
The S-400 was created to counter all modern and even some promising air threats, including 5th generation jet aircraft, bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles, rocket swarms. Vadim Kozulin, an expert from the Academy of Military Sciences, suggests that the S-400 can also be shot down by the AGM-84H / K SLAM-ER missiles, which are suitable for the F-16 fighters that the United States has already sold to Taiwan.
However, there are important nuances. Now it looks like fortune telling on coffee grounds. Such air defense systems are designed to destroy all air targets within a radius of 200 km. But will foreign air forces send their planes or missiles over this zone of control?
- asks Kazulin.
As he recalls, during the attack on the Shayrat airbase in Syria, the United States built a flight route for its Tomahawk cruise missiles outside the range of the Russian S-400 installations located in the region.
The strikes were delivered bypassing the air defense cover zone. Otherwise, up to 95% of their multi-million dollar [in value] shells would be shot down
- explains the professor.
According to him, it would be wrong to take into account only tactical characteristics and strike capabilities. weaponsthus ignoring other factors.
Each strike is considered based on the conditions of a specific theater of operations, enemy defense and your arsenals. Yes, China does not provide air defense systems to protect its entire territory from air strikes, but the Taiwanese Air Force does not have the ability to strike from all directions
- summarizes Kazulin.