Tag Archives: Triumf

Two More S-400 “Regimental Sets”

S-400 Launch Position (photo: RIA Novosti /  Mikhail Mokrushin)

S-400 Launch Position (photo: RIA Novosti / Mikhail Mokrushin)

Almaz-Antey announced delivery of two S-400 “regimental sets” to the Defense Ministry at Kapustin Yar on 25 December.  That makes six and seven to date.

No official word on their eventual place of deployment, but Zvenigorod, outside Moscow, was first mentioned back in 2011, and again this fall.  No one has hinted at a location for number seven.

The producer says it fulfilled its contract for serial production in 2013, and is fully meeting its obligation to manufacture “two-three regimental sets” per year.

S-400 Test Firing (photo: Almaz-Antey)

S-400 Test Firing (photo: Almaz-Antey)

The company’s press-release said the launchers were vibration-tested during a march over various road and terrain conditions at different speeds.  Then Almaz-Antey specialists and combat crews transferred them from traveling mode and conducted test launches against “low-flying, high-speed and ballistic targets.”

In late November, President Putin said two S-400 regiments were fielded this year when they were still, apparently, at KY.  He promised three in 2014.

Perhaps these “regimental sets” make a total of 14 S-400 battalions against a long-ago stated goal of 56 battalions under the current state armaments program.

Third S-400 Regiment for Moscow Oblast

S-400s at Elektrostal and Dubrovki, Zvenigorod Could be Next

S-400s at Elektrostal and Dubrovki, Zvenigorod Could be Next

The VVKO’s spokesman told RIA Novosti this week that the next — the sixth — S-400 SAM regiment (or “regimental set” of two launch battalions) will be deployed in Moscow Oblast before the end of 2013.

S-400s are already located east and north of Moscow at Elektrostal and Dubrovki, respectively.  Dubrovki was reported as Dmitrov (actually further north) by Russian media in the past.

Zvenigorod to the west was first mentioned as a deployment location in 2011.  It was supposed to be the third S-400 location before the end of that year.

Russian reportedly operates five S-400 regiments at the present time — Elektrostal and Dubrovki, and one each in the Baltic Fleet (Gvardeysk, Kaliningrad), Nakhodka in the Far East, and the Southern MD.

Find a better version of the map above here.

What’s It Cost?

S-400

S-400

A reader recently asked:

What’s the cost of one division of the S-400 for Russia and for foreign customers?

Let’s call it a battalion (дивизион).  We’ll start with exports (for which there is actually data).  And we proceed from what was paid for the S-300.

Russia’s planned sale of the S-300PMU1 to Iran reportedly involved the transfer of five “battalion sets” for $800 million.  Some sources said as much as $1-1.2 billion.   

Let’s guess the “battalion set” has three firing batteries, with two launchers per, for a total of 30 TELs, 120+ missiles, and all associated radars, fire control systems, and vehicles.

If $800 million is accurate, the price for one battalion was $160 million.  The price for one S-400 system, four missiles on a TEL, was roughly $27 million.

This isn’t unlike what the Chinese paid for the S-300 in the 1990s and 2000s.  According to Sinodefence.com, they bought battalions for between $25 and $60 million at different times under different contracts.

That done, we make the leap from the S-300 price to the S-400 price.

A couple years ago, Vedomosti drew the scarcely precise conclusion that the price of the S-400 will double the S-300′s price (and the S-500 double the S-400′s). 

So perhaps a “battalion set” or a battalion of the S-400 will go for $320 million.  That would be one full-up launch vehicle for $40-50 million.

The only other shred of information is the widely-reported Financial Times story saying, if the Russians added the S-400 to a $2 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, the price of the sale would climb to $7 billion.  But lots of Russian reports say Moscow won’t be selling the S-400 abroad soon.  The military obviously hopes that’s true, so it can get first.

But not every customer is Iranian, not every one will have to pay a premium price, and not every customer is foreign.

Which brings the trickier question of what Russia’s Defense Ministry has to pay.  It’s simply impossible to guess.

Certainly a lot less than buyers abroad.  The military’s bought some S-400 systems so there is a going price.  OAO Concern PVO Almaz-Antey’s costs are a big question as is the level of profit the government is willing to tolerate.  

The government owns Almaz-Antey, so one part of government is selling to another.  It’s a prime example of angst over GOZ “price formation” in recent years.  There was a similar big-ticket dustup over submarine prices with Sevmash.  It’s something of a Mexican standoff.  The buyer doesn’t have other supplier alternatives.  And the seller may not be allowed to sell elsewhere. 

The Defense Ministry, the government don’t want to pay a lot and have the power to refuse and yet still receive goods.  The question is how many.  That’s ECON 101, friends.

If those buyers set their price below equilibrium, Almaz-Antey will provide a lower than desired quantity more slowly than the buyers want.   And Almaz might have other buyers as an option, an advantage Sevmash lacks.  So “price formation” for the S-400 is all about agreement on Almaz’s costs and an acceptable level of profit.  That agreement is apparently not smoothly worked out yet.

Those Air Defense Missile Factories

S-300 Launch Canister? (photo: Izvestiya)

S-300 Launch Canister? (photo: Izvestiya)

OK, a lot gets under the radar . . . hadn’t noticed interesting reports since August by Izvestiya’s Aleksey Mikhaylov.

Sue me.

The latest is Mikhaylov’s informative update on two Almaz-Antey factories planned to crank out missiles for the S-400 Triumf and S-500 Prometey.

His OPK source says:

  • By 2014, large factories in Kirov and Nizhniy Novgorod are supposed to manufacture hypersonic 77N6-N and 77N6-N1 missiles for the S-400 and S-500.
  • The missiles will have inert, kinetic kill warheads, and supposedly be capable of intercepting ballistic targets at 7 km/s.
  • The Kirov factory will cost 41.6 billion rubles, the one in Nizhniy 39.5 (81.1  together).  Almaz will get a credit of 25 billion from VEB; the Defense Ministry will invest 35 billion.  One wonders where the balance comes from, and what the terms of this three-way partnership are.

Almaz greatly needs a new production base to field missiles for its SAM launchers.  It was planned in 2008, but the financial crisis prevented it.  The military doesn’t want to repeat the S-400 experience.  It remains armed with older, shorter-range 48N6 and 9M96 missiles.  Since 2007 only seven battalions (3 and 1/2 “regimental sets”) of the S-400 (out of 56 planned) have been fielded.

New missile production should coincide with serial production of the S-500 system (not later than 2014).  It remains under development.  However, Mikhaylov reports rumored sightings of  Prometey prototypes at this or that test range.

Over time, various officers and officials have claimed new, long-range missiles for the S-400 would be fielded in 2013, 2014, or 2015.

By way of conclusion, Mikhaylov turns to independent defense analyst Aleksandr Konovalov to comment:

“The country’s leadership looks at the defense sector like a Coke machine.  Put money in and get a bottle.  Nothing is that simple with the domestic OPK, and investing a lot of money doesn’t guarantee getting production precisely on time.  And discussion about the S-500 is questionable, it’s possible it doesn’t even exist in drawings.”

A Third S-400 Regiment

According to Interfaks, Air Forces Deputy CINC, General-Major Viktor Bondarev told journalists yesterday that another air defense regiment will be reequipped with the S-400 this fall. 

He didn’t mention a deployment location, or exactly when the regiment would go on combat duty.  This would be Russia’s third operational S-400 regiment.

The second regiment reportedly started combat duty on 15 May at Dmitrov, north of Moscow.

The first two regiments have four battalions between them, each battalion with 8 or more launchers.

In 2010, the Defense Ministry said it was buying 5 battalions of S-400s.  This seems to make sense with two battalions entering service in the first half of 2011, and two more possibly in the second half.  The first two S-400 battalions – at Elektrostal – were likely bought in 2006-2007. 

The plan is to buy 56 battalions worth of S-400s under GPV-2020.

It’s interesting to note that the previous, abandoned GPV-2015 (designed by Defense Minister, then Deputy Prime Minister, Sergey Ivanov) called for  acquiring 23 S-400 battalions by 2015.  The press often reports these 23 battalions as a pared-down 18, but the original goal was in fact 23.

So who’s really responsible for breaking the GPV (and GOZ)?

Government Credit for Two New Almaz-Antey Factories

In a 29 December interview on Vesti’s Rossiya-24 program, Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov addressed modernization, development, arms sales, and defense industry.  He said international demand for Russian air defense systems has led the government to take a decision to extend credit for Almaz-Antey to build two new factories.

As written in an earlier post about shortfalls in productive capacity in the OPK, this possibility has been under discussion since at least last February.

Military Parity picked up additional RIA Novosti coverage of Ivanov’s remarks:

“This year we decided on additional support to ‘Almaz-Antey’ and the allocation of credit for the construction of two more factories.”

Ivanov explained that most of Almaz-Antey’s production is going to satisfy the Russian Army’s requirements, and:

“Now they don’t have production capacity for large volume exports.  But this good, if it’s possible to call it that, is in great demand on the international market.”

A bit from the video . . . Ivanov’s interviewer asks about the state of military-technical cooperation (i.e. arms sales), and aviation’s role in it.  Ivanov says it got along “not badly” in 2010.  Arms sales exceeded $10 billion for the first time.  This, he says, attests to the competitiveness of, and demand for, Russian equipment, and so, in many areas, the defense sector isn’t doing badly.  Aviation represents more than a third of arms sales, or more than $4 billion.  He thinks military transport aviation sales have a good future, and, of course, buyers stand in line for Almaz-Antey’s PVO systems.  Thus, with internal and external demand, the need for two completely new factories.

Of course, saying they’ve decided for two factories is not the same as actually building them and starting new production lines.

Kornukov’s VKO Concept

In Izvestiya yesterday, Dmitriy Litovkin wrote that today Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov will receive a new, large-scale concept for establishing Russia’s global aerospace defense system for his review. 

According to Litovkin, the concept’s drafters picked 9 August because it’s the 60th anniversary of the USSR Council of Ministers decision to create the Soviet strategic air defense system.  He adds that Izvestiya is the first to study this just now declassified seven-page document.  It called for Soviet designers to develop an air defense system for Moscow codenamed ‘Berkut,’ in an improbably short period of two and a half years.

Litovkin quotes former Air Forces CINC Anatoliy Kornukov:

“Today we’ve developed and given the Defense Ministry an analogous document, setting down goals and tasks in the area of developing the country’s VKO system – this is a draft of a presidential decree on establishing VKO.”

In this case, the ‘we’ is the Extradepartmental Expert Council for Air-Space Defense (VKO) Problems, which Kornukov chairs.

Of course, Kornukov is a well-known critic of the state of Russia’s current aerospace defenses, who also advises air defense system producer Almaz-Antey.  One might, therefore, logically conclude that Kornukov’s concept will accord with Almaz-Antey’s current plans.

Litovkin goes on to relate stories of Laventiy Beria’s and his son’s involvement in those early air defense development efforts, and the prize money offered to the designers and their teams.

He tells about the Soviet / Russian A-35 and A-135 nuclear-armed ABM interceptors made obsolete by the S-400.  The S-400 he describes as a direct successor to the S-300, but with modern electronics:

“The tactical-technical characteristics of the S-400 were confirmed in the course of large-scale exercises ‘Combat Commonwealth-2009’ and ‘West-2009.’  S-400 combat crews successfully destroyed targets analogous to modern and future air attack systems.  The correctness of the Defense Ministry’s decision on creating air-space defense brigades was confirmed at the same time.”

Litovkin quotes Almaz-Antey Chief Igor Ashurbeyli:

“In modern conditions even the S-400, if you go the way of endless modernization, will end up in a technical dead end.  The system is indisputably effective, it will be modernized in the future, but up to a certain reasonable limit.  Its combat potential will be raised, but it won’t go beyond the bounds of ‘conventional’ PVO-PRO systems.  Today we have the mission of covering the country from the greatest number of potential threats.  On the Defense Ministry’s order, we’ve started development of the fundamentally new S-500 system.”

As stated many times, Litovkin notes the S-500 is to complete development by 2015, but its characteristics haven’t been disclosed, beyond it having a new active X-band phased array radar.  Supplemental short- and medium-range SAMs (Morfey and Vityaz) will be developed.  The S-400, S-500, and these systems are supposed to cover ranges from 5 to 400 kilometers, at heights from 5 meters to near space.