Slovakia agrees to provide its S-300 air defense missile systems to Ukraine

According to information published by CNN on March 16, 2022, Slovakia has preliminarily agreed to provide Ukraine with Soviet-era air defense missile system S-300 to help defend against Russian airstrikes. Slovakia is one of the three NATO allies that have S-300 in its military inventory.
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Slovak army 5P85SU TEL Transporter Erector Launcher vehicle of S-300 PMU air defense missile system. (Picture source Army Recognition)

On March 16, 2022, Army Recognition reported that the United States and NATO allies are sending several surface-to-air missiles systems to Ukraine. Citing, a senior US official, the missiles sent to Ukraine include Soviet-era SA-8, SA-10, SA-12, and SA-14 mobile air defense systems.

According to the Military Balance 2021, the Slovak armed forces already use different types of Soviet-made air defense missile systems including the 9K310 Igla-1 NATO designation SA-16 Gimlet MANPADS (Man-Portable air defense missile system), 2K12 Kub NATO designation SA-6 Gainful) and S-300 PMU NATO designation SA-10C Grumble C long-range surface-to-air defense missile systems.

The S-300 PMU was the first export variant of the S-300P series. It was introduced in 1992 for the export market. The S-300 PMU was specifically designed to improve system mobility and is basically the key element of the S-300P system, repackaged to fit on modified MAZ-543 (8 × 8) cross-country truck chassis. 

The S-300 PMU systems use the 5P85S and 5P85T TELs (Transporter Erector Launchers), which are equipped with 4 surface-to-air missiles. The battery is also supported by a 54K6E command post vehicle and a 1T12 site survey vehicle. The radars and TELs are based on the MAZ-543M 8x8 military truck chassis.

The S-300 PMU air defense system is able to detect 100 targets at a maximum range of 300 km and engage 6 of them. It uses the upgraded surveillance radar 64N6E (BIG BIRD) and the illumination and guidance radar being designated 30N6-1. The systems also use the 76N6 (76N6E export version) low-level early warning/acquisition radar with more than 120 km range.

The S-300 PMU uses the missile Fakel 5V55RUD. This missile had further rocket motor improvements to increase the maximum effective engagement range to 90 km and introduced a terminal semi-active radar homing (SARH) guidance mode. The minimum effective range is 5,000 m. Altitude limits are 10 to 27,000 m with target velocity up to 1,200 m/s. It can also fire the 48N6 missile which has a maximum range of 150 km flying at a speed of about Mach 6. This missile is equipped with a HE (High Explosive) warhead weighing a weight of 70-100 kg. It can engage targets with a maximum speed of Mach 8, at an altitude ranging from 10 m to up to 27 km.

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