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Analysis: Ukraine forces use S-300V1 air defense missile system to destroy Russian aerial threats

On January 8, 2023, a video was released on the Ukrainian air Force Command Facebook account showing the use of Soviet-made S-300V1, a mobile air defense missile system based on a tracked chassis to counter Russian aerial threats. According to the military balance 2021, the Ukrainian armed forces have an undisclosed number of S-300V, NATO code-named SA-12A Gladiator.
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Ukrainian S-300V SA-12A TEL Transporter Erector Launcher at rehearsal for the Independence Day military parade in Kyiv, in 2018. (Picture source Wikimedia)

The S-300V is a multichannel all-weather Anti-Tactical Ballistic Missile (ATBM) and surface-to-air missile (SAM) system designed and manufactured by the Russian company Almaz-Antey. The S-300V is able to fire the 75 km-range 9M83 and 100 km-range 9M82 missiles. The S-300V1 is only in service with Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine air defense units and can fire the 9M83 missiles.

A typical S-300V battery includes four SA-12a TELs (Transporter Erector Launchers) with four missile container-launcher tubes and two SA-12b TELs with two missile container-launcher tubes.

The S-300V launcher vehicles are based on a modernized version of the MT-T tracked cargo vehicle to increase mobility. All the individual units include their own land navigation system, communications systems, and auxiliary power sources. The SA-12b is primarily designed to be used as an Anti-Tactical Ballistic Missile (ATBM) and the SA-12a as a dual-role anti-aircraft/anti-missile.

On the 9A83-1 TELAR, the engagement radar is mounted at the front of the launcher on a scissors-type mount which gives it a full 360º coverage in azimuth as well as full hemispheric coverage in elevation. On the 9A82 TELAR, the radar is mounted in a semi-fixed position over the cab, giving 90º coverage to either side in azimuth or 110º coverage in elevation. The difference in the radar locations is because the 9A83-1 TELAR has a secondary anti-aircraft role and therefore needs a mast-mounted antenna to engage low-flying targets in any direction.

For both S-300V TELs, the tube launchers are raised to the vertical position for missile launch and are carried horizontally for travel. The missile is then ejected from the container to a height of about 50 m and, once clear, ignites its propulsion system.

The S-300V can fire 9M82 and 9M83 missiles. The main difference lies in the size of the first-stage booster unit fitted and the performance it endows. The 9M82 `Giant' has a maximum velocity of 2,400 m/s, while the 9M83 `Gladiator' has a maximum velocity of 1,700 m/s.

The 9M82 `Giant' missile is designed to engage near-strategic ballistic missiles, tactical battlefield missiles and aircraft targets (including stand-off jamming platforms) at ranges of up to 100,000 m. Some American sources credit its maximum range capability as being 200,000 m. This may, however, reflect the weapons capability against a non-maneuvering subsonic target such as a Boeing E-3 AWACS aircraft.

The 9M83 `Gladiator' missile is designed to engage aircraft targets (including those performing maneuvers of up to 7 to 8 g), tactical battlefield missiles, cruise missiles, and some ballistic missile types.

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