A division set of Russia’s S-400 Triumph air defense system has undergone tests and will soon be put on combat duty Russian-annexed Crimea, amid rising tensions with Ukraine. It would be in place by the end of the year, joining three other S-400 systems already on the peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Russia’s control of the peninsula has again come under scrutiny this week after Russian forces shot at, boarded and seized Ukrainian Navy warships off the coast of Crimea over the weekend.
The personnel of the air defense missile unit of the 4th army of the Air Force and the Southern Military District deployed to Crimea has started preparing the equipment to be transported by rail to a permanent base. Sources in Russian security services had said in September that a fourth system would be deployed in Crimea near Dzhankoy, a town close to Ukrainian-controlled territory. The third S-400 battalion assumed combat duty in Crimea’s Yevpatoria in September to protect the Russian airspace.
Earlier, the division set successfully conducted the first shooting exercises at a firing range in southern Russia’s Astrakhan Region. The S-400 Triumph air defense system combat units fired on simulated low altitude, rapid and ballistic targets. The missile system was earlier tested for resistance to vibration on various roads at different speed. The similar air defense missile systems went on combat duty in Feodosiya in January 2017 and in Sevastopol in January 2018 to protect the Russian airspace in Crimea
Russia’s S-400 Triumph (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) previously known as the S-300 PMU-3, is the latest long-range anti-aircraft missile system that went into service in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, and can also be used against ground installations. The S-400 uses four missiles to fill its performance envelope: the very-long-range 40N6 (400 km), the long-range 48N6 (250 km), the medium-range 9M96E2 (120 km) and the short-range 9M96E (40 km). The S-400 was described by The Economist in 2017 as “one of the best air-defence systems currently made”.