• Wednesday, November 21, 2018

THAAD vs S-400: A comparative analysis

Discussion in 'Military Forum' started by RangeMaster, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. RangeMaster

    RangeMaster FULL MEMBER

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    Mariyam Masood
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    November 7, 2018
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    Mariyam Masood |

    Missile defense systems are intended to safeguard a country against imminent ballistic missile attacks. Both THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) and S-400 are missile defense systems, developed by the United States and Russia respectively. THAAD is a relatively recent addition in America’s anti-ballistic missile defense system which has the capability to intercept and destroy short, medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles at the range of 200 Km and altitudes of up to 150 Km.

    The THAAD missile intercepts threats inside or outside the atmosphere during their final or terminal phase. Manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corporation, after the failure of Patriot Defense System, a THAAD battery incorporates six launcher vehicles; each vehicle is able to fire eight missiles. THAAD batteries comprise of four fundamental components: launcher, interceptor, Radar, and Fire Control unit.

    The S-400 system also has fire control radar and a command post which enables it to shoot surface-to-air missiles and eradicate imminent missile attacks.

    The THAAD launcher is truck mounted which makes it portable, capable of carrying up to eight interceptors that can be quickly ejected and reloaded. THAAD interceptors use hit-to-kill technology where the imminent threat is wrecked by kinetic energy and uses the largest Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance (AN/TPY-2).

    This air-transportable X-band Radar search, track, and distinguish objects at the range of up to 1000 km and give tracking information to the missile interceptor. THAAD intercepts rockets amid their terminal period of flight like Patriot defense systems, however, gives the broad defense that Patriot system could not.

    On the other hand, S-400 is a heavy hitter with a longer range of 400km making it more capable than American THAAD. S-400 is developed by a Russian state-owned company Almaz-Antey and it is the most advanced surface-to-air missile defense system. It can shoot down threatening aircraft, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles.

    It can also engage UAVs and in aircraft, it can engage fighters, AWACS, J-STARS, EA-6B support jammers. It is basically an upgraded variant of S300 and its range is up to 400 kilometers. S-400 consists of 8 launchers and maximum 112 missiles. Most importantly, it can simultaneously engage 80 targets which none other system are capable of.

    With its unique capabilities and advanced technology, it is bound to make Pakistan’s decision makers to think about countering this threat.

    Its response time is 9 seconds and missile attains the maximum speed of 15 Mach (15 times speed of sound) that is almost 5km/sec, which is a remarkable speed for an anti-ballistic /anti-aircraft missile system. S-400 is capable of firing three types of missiles to create a layered defense which is a very strong point of this system. The system is also capable of exchanging data with other defense systems such as SA-12, SA-23, and S-300.

    Presently, it is inducted by Russia, China, Belarus and Algeria in their forces, whereas deals have been done recently with Turkey, India and Saudi Arabia. The S-400 system also has fire control radar and a command post which enables it to shoot surface-to-air missiles and eradicate imminent missile attacks. As a result, it creates an air defense shield. With its specifications, S-400 provides the same defense system as both Patriot and THAAD combined which enables it to target and hit at distances up to 60km.


    The US-built THAAD can hit targets only at very high altitudes (minimum 40-50 km) due to which it is useless against fighter jets or long-range tactical aircrafts, making it strictly an anti-missile defense system. Whereas, S-400 can target aircrafts as well as cruise missiles and ballistic missiles which makes it more effective than THAAD. Moreover, THAAD has never been used in actual warfare, whereas, S400 is time-tested in the actual operational environment in Syria.

    In the South Asian context, S-400 is a game changer. Playing on the thin strategic balance between Pakistan and India, its incorporation in the Indian defense system will give India an advantage over Pakistan. With its unique capabilities and advanced technology, it is bound to make Pakistan’s decision-makers to think about countering this threat.


    Over the years, it will lead to an increased offensive posture from the Indian side as the increased military capability would give it an edge over Pakistan. This will be detrimental to the security and stability of the region while rendering Pakistan insecure.




    Mariyam Masood is a Research Intern at CISS. She can be reached at mariyam60@live.com. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.
     
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  2. LeGenD

    LeGenD SENIOR MEMBER

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    "On the other hand, S-400 is a heavy hitter with a longer range of 400km making it more capable than American THAAD. S-400 is developed by a Russian state-owned company Almaz-Antey and it is the most advanced surface-to-air missile defense system."

    Wait? What?

    THAAD and S-400 are entirely different systems with different specializations.

    S-400 have formidable anti-aircraft capability but is LOW-TIER in ABM capacity. Its American counterpart is Patriot.

    THAAD is strictly ABM and it dwarf S-400 in this domain. THAAD also have capability against hypersonic threats which will be unlocked in the future.
     
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  3. maithil

    maithil FULL MEMBER

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    Was this comparison done by reading specs on Wikipedia?
     
  4. randomradio

    randomradio BANNED

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    40N6 = 200Km altitude
    40N6M = 300Km altitude

    :D
     
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  5. Yaseen1

    Yaseen1 SENIOR MEMBER

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    thaad is better as its capability is more hidden than s400 so it is difficult to be disabled or jammed
     
  6. LeGenD

    LeGenD SENIOR MEMBER

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    False information.

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    Maximum flight range against aerodynamic targets such as aircraft and drones = 380 KM
    Maximum altitude = 30 KM

    Sources affiliated with that exhibition clarified that 40H6E and 40N6 are same.

    Independent confirmation from another reliable source:-

    "Reports indicate the missile’s destruction range is up to 380 km for aerodynamic targets and up to 15 km for ballistic weapons at an altitude ranging from 10 m to 35 km."

    https://missilethreat.csis.org/russian-army-accepts-40n6-missile-for-s-400/
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
  7. randomradio

    randomradio BANNED

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    30Km is for aerodynamic targets. At this altitude, the slant range is 380Km.

    But the missile forgoes range for altitude during exoatmospheric intercept. That's why 48N6 is advertised to manage only a 60Km range in exchange for achieving a 60Km altitude instead of the regular 250Km range for 30Km altitude.

    The same with PAC-3. When it climbs to an altitude of 40Km, the range drops down to 30-35Km.

    So you can say the 40N6 probably manages a range of 100-200Km in exchange for achieving an altitude of 200Km. And this is normal for a missile that's been designed to fly above speeds of mach 9, likely mach 12. You escape earth's gravity using speed after all. There is no need to hit mach 12 unless you are designing an exoatmospheric interceptor.
     
  8. LeGenD

    LeGenD SENIOR MEMBER

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    Observe:-

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    Bottom left = ballistic target

    30 KM is the maximum altitude at which this interceptor will ensure acceptable hit probability against all types of targets. Sorry to disappoint you but reality is different from your perception.

    Why would the manufacturer not advertise the potential of this interceptor to engage a ballistic target at a much higher altitude in a defense exhibition? Does not make sense to conceal this kind of information from potential customers. But the point is that you cannot lie to potential customers in a defense exhibition.

    From Rosoboronexport:-

    Engagement range, km:

    aerodynamic target = 3 - 250
    ballistic target = 5 - 60

    Min/max engagement altitude, km:

    aerodynamic target = 0,01 - 27
    ballistic target = 2 - 27

    27 KM altitude is the maximum for this interceptor to engage any type of target.

    FYI: http://roe.ru/eng/catalog/air-defence-systems/air-defense-systems-and-mounts/s-400-triumf/

    Standard flight speed of 40N6 interceptor = 1190 m/s (MACH 4)

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    FYI: http://g24.ee/meter-second-to-mach-si-standard)/1190-meter-second-to-mach-si-standard).html

    Any ballistic missile is an extremely fast moving object (flight speeds might fall in the hypersonic range); it provides a small window for engagement to virtually any defense system on the surface. The interceptor will be programmed to go after a ballistic target at its maximum speed (or close) and this activity will take a toll on its fuel consumption (fuel efficiency vs. speed). Therefore, engagement range and engagement altitude of an interceptor will significantly shorten in BMD scenario.

    S-400 restricts engagement altitude of its interceptor base to 30 KM. This could be due to limitations of its Fire Control Radar (command guidance), and its interceptors having poor hit probability at much higher altitudes.

    S-500 uplift the engagement altitude of its interceptor base to 100 KM, and will be armed with a new generation of interceptors to make this feasible. It is possible that S-500 can make better use of 40N6 interceptor for BMD engagements than S-400 due to its relatively superior Fire Control Radar and vice versa.

    Admirable quality of S-400 is its multi-mission capability (its ability to defeat different types of threats at respectable ranges) but it is not an ABM juggernaut.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018