Military Review

Anti-aircraft missile systems: the situation on the world market

Production of air defense assets is an indicator of the level of development of the country's defense industry

Modern wars have confirmed the importance of aerospace attacks in achieving the ultimate military-political goals of armed confrontation and strengthening the role of air defense / missile defense as a whole. This contributes to the intensification of procurement by the military departments of the countries of the world of anti-aircraft missile systems and complexes (ZRS / ZRK). An important trend was the interest in missile defense systems to protect against tactical and operational-tactical missiles, and more recently to object defense against artillery, mortar and rocket attacks (called Force Protection systems in the West). There is a rapid expansion of the development and procurement of systems of the latter class.


The main trends in the development of modern ZRS / ZRK are increasing their multi-channel targets and increasing the possibility of hitting high-speed targets, including ballistic ones, which makes it possible to solve missile defense tasks. Long-range complexes (with a range of more than 100 km) and medium-range (from 20 to 100 km) are now considered as a means of defense against non-continental-range ballistic missiles (tactical, operational-tactical and medium-range missiles), cruise missiles, and are also being improved in the direction of building capacity to hit as many aerodynamic targets as possible. Short-range complexes (up to 10 km) and short-range (from 10 to 20 km) develop mainly in the direction of giving them opportunities to destroy high-precision weaponsas well as artillery shells and short-range missiles (including the MLRS). A new trend is the integration of anti-aircraft missile systems of different ranges in a single complex. A reflection of this same trend is the creation of combined anti-aircraft missile and artillery complexes of short-range and short-range, where Russia occupies the leading place (Tunguska, Pantsir).

In view of the development of anti-aircraft defenses, increasing importance is given to the creation of short-range and short-range complexes with passive means of detection and guidance, as well as full homing missiles (infrared or active radar), allowing to realize the principle of "fired and forgotten." On the other hand, the development of passive self-defense systems on airplanes and helicopters also retains interest in anti-aircraft systems with command guidance systems (especially laser ones) that make the missile not subject to traps.

Modern air defense systems are among the most complex types of military equipment, and the degree of ability to produce them independently is an indicator of the development of the level of the state defense industry. The creation of the most high-tech systems of medium and long-range air defense should be attributed to the greatest achievements of the military "high tech" requiring possession at the industrial level of the most advanced technologies and investing large amounts of R & D. Because of this, the development of medium-range and long-range complexes is now independently carried out only by the United States and Russia, Western European countries conduct cooperation programs, and other states carry out work in this area with the assistance of the US (Israel, Japan) or Russian (South Korea, India, China ) developers. Short-range and short-range air defense complexes also require a very high level of science and technology development.

Air defense systems and long-range and medium-range missiles

In the segment of long-range and medium-range air defense systems / air defense missiles the United States with air defense systems of the Patriot family, as well as Russia with air defense systems of the C-300P series, and now the C-400, strongly dominate the world market. The undisputed leadership in sales here belongs to the United States, who sold Patriot to 12 states (Germany, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Spain, Kuwait, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan). To date, the export has been manufactured or ordered up to 140 batteries of this complex. Given the implementation of the PAC-3 version that has begun (including the implementation of upgrading the early versions of the Patriot to the PAC-3 level in almost all client countries), we can expect that the Americans intend to expand and consolidate their position. The supply of PAC-3 systems and later versions of PAC-2 in the coming 10-15 years will amount to tens of billions of dollars, and the recent mega-contract worth 9 billion dollars for the supply of these UAE systems is a clear confirmation of this.

The United States also developed and began to market the theater missile defense system THAAD and (together with Germany and Italy) short and medium range SAM and MEADS missile systems using the PAC-3 missiles.

As for Russia, the air defense systems of the C-300P range act as the “flagship” product of the Russian “defense” in the field of air defense. Nevertheless, the export of the C-300P series of air defense systems was actually focused mainly on China (where 1997 divisions of various modifications were placed from 2009 to 27), while sales for a pair of divisions of Cyprus (Greece) and Vietnam were essentially single. Only the 2006 contract of the year for the supply of four C-300PMU2 divisions to Algeria was a real breakthrough outside of Southeast Asia, but it is not clear whether large-scale sequels will follow this in other countries. In addition, the export of air defense systems of the C-300P series is seriously complicated by political obstacles - a clear example was the delivery of five C-2009PMU300 divisions in Iran to 1. The C-300B SAM systems have not yet been able to be implemented abroad, apart from the scandalous delivery of one set by Yeltsin in the 1995 year to the USA (now the supply of C-300ВЭ to Venezuela is also possible). Now Russia declares its readiness to conduct limited exports of the C-400 new SAM. According to experts, its real export prospects are very ambitious.

In fact, the failure to export initially pursued the Russian medium-range air defense system of the Buk series, which was realized only to Finland to repay the debt (three divisions). At the same time, the situation is gradually beginning to change for the better due to the start of the export of modified Buk systems with 9М317 missiles - such complexes have been sold to Cyprus, Syria and are now being planned for delivery to another country. In addition, 9М317 missiles are also supplied in retrofit packages for the modernization of the Kvadrat complexes.

At the same time, Russian enterprises are taking part in the creation of new medium-range complexes for other countries. Thus, the enterprises of the Almaz-Antey concern, apparently, contributed to the development of the HQ-9 air defense system in the PRC (a kind of Chinese analogue C-300P), and now they are supplying the 9X317 series of missiles to the Chinese complex HQ-17 created with the active Russian assistance . For South Korea, Almaz-Antey developed the KM / SAM medium-range air defense system, which is in fact an adapted Russian promising Vityaz air defense system. The Vityaz himself with the 9М96 series of missiles, which are planned to be used again in the Triumph C-400 SAM, should also be considered as one of the future Russian proposals on the world market.

Another direction of Russian exports in the medium-range air defense missile system is the promotion of modified versions of the widely-spread old Soviet C-125 air defense system, and here in Russia there is a competition of proposals from Almaz-Antey (the Pechora-2А option) and Defense Systems "(Variant С-125-2М" Pechora-2М "). To date, not only has the old systems been upgraded for these projects in a number of countries, but Russian enterprises have concluded a number of contracts for the supply of modified complexes to countries where C-125 was not in service (Myanmar, Venezuela).

In the coming years, we should expect an increase in the range of suppliers of medium-range and long-range air defense systems and increased competition. First of all, we should note the upcoming large-scale return to this market of European manufacturers (concern MBDA) with their new, potentially very strong, SAMP / T SAM system with SAM Aster 30 SAM, as well as the MICA VL complex. Israel is becoming a powerful player, especially if they offer Rafael short and medium-range anti-missile systems Stunner (Kela David) and Iron Dome (Kippat Barzel), which are being developed by Rafael, and the success of developing a medium-range Barak 8 jointly with India. . Already, Israel has an Arrow 2 (Hetz) anti-missile system jointly developed with the United States, although, due to the opposition of the United States, it is unable to export it. Finally, we should expect the emergence of a serious supplier of air defense systems and China, so overwritten in marginal niches - the first significant step was the offer of KS-1A and HQ-9 complexes for export.

At the same time, it is obvious that the market for modern high-tech anti-aircraft long-range and medium-range missile systems, especially with anti-missile defense capabilities (C-300, C-400, Patriot of all versions, in the future - SAMP / T), remains highly fragmented by political feature. The choice of such systems for the acquisition was and will remain strongly politically motivated and in fact does not allow truly free competition, and the export of such systems will continue to face political restrictions.


Due to the relative simplicity and cheapness of these air defense systems in this sector of the air defense market, the offer is much wider, and the competition is more significant. Now the main trend among the complexes of short (and partly medium) range can be called the proposal of samples of a new family, where mainly used as SAM aviation air-to-air missiles with active radar homing heads, sometimes supplemented by aircraft with infrared homing missiles. All of them allow you to implement the principle of "shot and forgot." Such complexes include the American SLAMRAAM and the US-Norwegian NASAMS (both use the well-known AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles), the European MICA VL, as well as the Israeli Spyder. We can expect a rapid growth in sales of these air defense systems, which in the next decade will make up a considerable market share.

Russia continues to promote highly efficient short-range complexes with command guidance to the world market. These are primarily the Tor series (sold to the PRC, Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran), as well as the unique anti-aircraft missile-cannon complexes of the Tunguska families (delivered to India and Morocco) and Pantsir-S1 (UAE, Syria, Algeria).

The creation of the Pantsir, which immediately found significant demand in the market and was also adopted by the Russian Air Force, was a major achievement of the Tula Instrument Engineering Bureau. And for the first time in the Russian defense industry, such a project was originally conducted with funds and in the interests of a foreign customer (UAE) and, no less important, marked the first major breakthrough of Russian air defense systems to the country's market traditionally pro-Western orientation.

As for short-range air defense systems, now the main focus here has been the creation of complexes with batch or turret launchers for high-performance missiles of modern portable air defense systems. Thus, the well-known Stinger missiles are used in the mass-produced and widely exported American self-propelled Avenger SAM systems on the chassis of the HMMWV car, as well as in a number of similar products from other manufacturers. Now the market has a large number of mobile packet complexes of this class.

At the same time, in the past decade and a half, the United States sharply restricted the export of its Stinger MANPADS, fearing that they would fall into the hands of terrorists or regimes undesirable to the White House. These complexes are actually supplied only to the closest allies of Washington from among the developed countries. Americans refuse to sell MANPADS to even the most friendly developing countries, offering them only the mentioned Avenger self-propelled batch systems using Stinger SAMs.

Russia, on the contrary, widely exports portable portable SAM systems of the Igla series. As a result, these domestic complexes are today virtually no alternative to the current offer among portable MANPADS on the world market (if one does not take into account Chinese or Polish MANPADS, which are largely “clones” of the “Needle”). Modern French (Mistral 2), British (Starstreak) and Swedish (RBS-70 and RBS-90) portable complexes are not fully portable, they are rather portable turret-type MANPADS. At the same time, countries of almost all political orientations are interested in acquiring portable MANPADS. The presence of Russian “turret” (“Dzhigit”) and “package” (“Sagittarius”) proposals with the use of missiles of Russian portable air defense systems further strengthens our position in this market segment.

In general, it can be stated that recently, after a period of some pause, Russia has been expanding its share of the world market for air defense missile systems. This situation is primarily due to the high competitiveness of Russian proposals in the field of air defense and, above all, the presence of proposals in Russia across the entire spectrum of systems of all classes and ranges - from the C-300 and C-400 series to portable air defense systems. Moreover, in a number of segments, Russian offers are generally unique to the world market - for example, modern self-propelled short-range air defense systems on an armored chassis (“Thor” series) or anti-aircraft missile-cannon complexes (“Pantsir-С1” and “Tungusk”).

The second most important factor in the competitiveness of the Russian systems so far is their cost advantages as compared with their Western counterparts. Although it should be expected that these advantages will diminish, or even disappear altogether as the cost of labor and labor in the Russian defense-industrial complex increase.

Finally, the third advantage of the Russian side is the political non-engagement of its proposals. It is expressed in the willingness of domestic suppliers to sell the most modern and sophisticated air defense systems to almost any state without significant political restrictions, so typical of American policy of arms exports. The last factor makes Russian offers particularly attractive, for example, in the portable air defense system segment.

Unconditionally dominate in the supply volumes in the world of air defense systems of new development. Deliveries of formerly operating air defense systems are generally insignificant, although the situation varies somewhat due to the commencement of Germany’s sale of Patriot complexes (exported, in particular, to South Korea), as well as Russia’s supply of upgraded versions of C-125 and C- 300P (the latter - Belarus and Kazakhstan).

At the same time, the real modernization of air defense systems is also experiencing a real boom. First of all, this is due to the high cost of new systems, which often makes their purchase unaffordable for many countries and compels to keep “obsolete” cash obsolete complexes. At the same time, the greatest demand exists for the modernization of a number of Soviet-made Soviet-made ZRS / ZRK (“Kvadrat”, “Osa”, “Strela-10”, С-125, С-200) maintaining the military significance of the Warsaw Pact and friendly third world countries. Now here, Russian developers have to face considerable competition in the proposals of modernization options from a number of other post-socialist states - Ukraine, Belarus and Poland. Of the western systems, only the well-known American medium-range complex HAWK has comparable prevalence, but to date its modernization potential has been almost exhausted and improvement is possible only in the direction of a complete replacement of missiles (in particular with AMRAAM), which is essentially comparable in cost to the acquisition of new air defense missiles. .

Summarizing, we can indicate the following main trends in the current state of the world market for ground-based anti-aircraft missile systems and complexes:

- significant growth in the market of modern air defense systems / air defense missile systems of all classes;
- geographical and political segmentation of the ZRS / ZRK market;
- the upcoming intensification of international competition;
- dominance in sales of ZRS / ZRK of new equipment;
- a sharp increase in the market of modernization programs and packages;
- a significant increase in interest in missile defense systems and object defense systems from artillery, mortar and rocket attacks.
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