Moscow has deployed its most advanced S-400 air defense system, said to have no equals globally, to guard the skies over Syria after a Turkish F-16 fighter shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber over Syrian territory on Tuesday.
The S-400 Triumf (NATO codename SA-21 Growler) is an anti-aircraft and anti-missile system, which is capable of intercepting all types of modern air weaponry, including fifth-generation warplanes, as well as ballistic and cruise missiles at a maximum range of nearly 250 miles. It has a tracking range of over 370 miles.The system uses three types of long- and medium-range missiles and can simultaneously engage as many as 36 targets.
In addition, the S-400 is the only missile complex in the world capable of hitting targets located beyond the horizon, defense expert Konstantin Sivkov told Radio Sputnik. The system is also well protected against electronic warfare.
In short, the S-400 is the best defensive system Russia has in its arsenal.
But just in case, the Triumf will also be assisted by the S-300F Fort (SA-N-6 Grumble) air defense system outfitted on the Moskva guided missile cruiser.
“The S-300 system onboard Moskva is also an extremely capable system that is similar to the S-400, but not quite as potent. One of the missile types supported by the Rif-M system … can engage targets out to 95 miles at altitudes up to 90,000ft. The system can engage half-a-dozen targets with up to twelve missiles simultaneously,” Dave Majumdar observed in an article for the National Interest.
On Tuesday, a Turkish F-16 shot down a Su-24, claiming that the aircraft had violated its airspace. Russian officials and the Su-24 pilot, who survived the crash, insist that the plane did not cross into Turkey. The crew, according to the pilot, did not receive any warning prior to the attack.The Su-24 was involved in Russia’s counterterrorism efforts in Syria aimed at assisting Damascus in its fight against ISIL and other extremist groups trying to overthrow Bashar al-Assad.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to apologize for the incident, which Russian President Vladimir Putin described as a “stab in the back” committed by “accomplices of terrorists.” Moreover, Erdogan warned Russia against using the S-400 to shoot down Turkish fighter jets if they violate Syrian airspace since, in his opinion, it would qualify as “aggression.”