MOSCOW — On February 25, 24 hours after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, several media outlets reported on the downing of Ukrainian fighter jets near Kyiv. Dozens of sources have confirmed that one of the downed Ukrainian Su-27 fighters was shot down by an anti-aircraft missile fired by an air defence system.

Russian media today claim that this fighter was hit by a surface-to-air missile [SAM] system S-400, which was located in Belarus. mentioned that long before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Moscow deployed at least two S-400 batteries on the territory of Belarus. Most recently, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko asked Russia to deploy at least two more batteries on the outskirts of Minsk.

If the information from Russian sources is reliable, then this shot at the Ukrainian Su-27 fighter is the first documented case of using the Russian S-400 SAM system in combat.

Sources claim that the hit was made at a distance of 150 km from the starting point S-400 to the final destination Su-27. This distance is less than half the range of the Russian SAM, which according to specifications is a maximum of 400 km.

Sources at from Russia and Ukraine say air defence systems were used in the first 36 hours of the invasion. After air control was taken over by the Russian Air Force, the use of SAMs was stopped, but they are on active combat duty. can confirm the information that Russia used air defence systems at the beginning of the invasion, referring to its own sources on the field. So far, however, there is no official statement that it was the S-400 anti-aircraft missile that shot down the Ukrainian fighter jet.

What S-400 SAM System Is?

S-400 Triumph is a Russian long-range and medium-range anti-aircraft missile system, anti-aircraft missile system [SAM]. S-400 is designed to destroy all modern and promising means of aerospace attack [including hypersonic].

According to Western analysts, the S-400, along with systems such as the Iskander OTRK and coastal anti-ship systems of the Bastion class, plays a key role in the new concept of the Russian Armed Forces, known in the West as the “Access Denied Zone” [Anti-Access / Area Denial, A2 / AD], which consists in the fact that NATO troops cannot be and move within the range of A2 / AD restricted area systems without the risk of causing unacceptable damage to them.

Triumph is the name of the export version. The market price of one division of the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system is about $ 500 million.

The performance characteristics of the S-400 Triumph are: detects a target at a distance of 600 km; strikes a target at a distance of 400 km; the maximum speed of the hit targets – 4.8 km / s; at the same time can fire 36 targets with pointing up to 72 missiles on them; deployment time of the system from the stowed state – 5-10 minutes; the time to bring the system’s assets into combat readiness from the deployed state is 3 minutes.

How Does The S-400 SAM Work?

The S-400 Triumph is not just an installation for launching missiles, but a whole complex of coordinated and complex systems, the components of which are located on high-cross-country vehicles.

The entire process from detecting to destroying a target occurs automatically:

1st – The radar system [radar] detects hundreds of targets within a radius of 600 km and determines their nationality
2nd – Data is sent to the command post [55K6E]. He, in turn, distributes targets between several launchers [5P85TE2]
3rd- Each command post can simultaneously control eight air defence systems, each of which carries up to 12 launchers. They, in turn, accommodate four missiles with different masses, launch ranges, and capabilities
4th – Depending on the type of target, an air defence system selects a missile. The S-400 Triumph is armed with missiles with different weights, launch ranges, and capabilities: 48N6E, 48N6E2, 48N6E3, 9M96E, and 9M96E2
5th – Ultra-long-range missiles [up to 400 km] are capable of destroying targets even beyond the reach of targeting locators, for which they have unique homing heads. After climbing at the command of such a rocket itself goes into search mode