Russia has recently deployed an S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile defence system near St. Petersburg. This move comes in the wake of a drone attack on a major gas export terminal near the city.
S-300 is referred to in the West as SA-20 Gargoyle. This air defense system entered service with the Soviet Armed Forces in the mid-1970s.
There are several versions of the S-300 rocket, with different technical capabilities and ranges. The maximum range of the standard missile is 120 km, and the warheads weigh 133-143 kg with proximity blust to compensate for the inaccuracy of the missile seeker, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
Footage captured by a local resident shows the anti-aircraft missile systems being transported and set up in the vicinity of St. Petersburg. One S-300 system temporarily blocked a road while maneuvering into position.
The decision to deploy S-300 systems reflects Russia’s growing concern regarding the potential for future drone attacks on vital infrastructure.
The recent drone attack on the gas export terminal near St. Petersburg highlights the vulnerability of critical infrastructure. Russian officials have reported no injuries despite causing a significant fire at the Ust-Luga terminal.
Ukrainian sources claim that the SBU security service coordinated the operation as a “special operation.” Drones involved in the attack covered a distance of 1,250 km (775 miles).
S-300 radar deficiency
The S-300 is a family of surface-to-air missiles, originally developed by the Soviet Union. It was first put into operation in the late 1970s after a decade of development.
The 5N64S (Western designation Big Bird) (64N6E export version) is a 360° S-Band 3D surveillance/battle management radar with a maximum range of 200 km. This radar has two huge faces with 2,700 elements (5,400). It can detect 30 targets and track 12 of them for engagement.
For better intercepting of very fast-moving targets, the radar stops its rotation. The radar searches with higher altitude, more resolution and accuracy.
Like all other Russian radars, the 5N64S radar has difficulty tracking slow-moving targets such as drones and terrain-hugging cruise missiles at low altitudes.
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