China developing new generation of SAM


Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
If I am not mistaken, didn't China invest into the S-400?
Yeah that's what it says on Jane's at any rate.

I'm not sure if China invested or helped develop it though. Probably the former.
 

Londo Molari

Junior Member
How can a SAM have such a long range? Wouldn't that require the radar or target to be at very very high altitude, due to the curvature of the earth and radar horizon?

I don't understand how such super long range SAMs (200km+) can add value in conventional warfare.

Maybe they are useful against incoming ballistic missiles?

Or does the range not refer to target, but instead to the fuel storage in the missile, which would allow it to chase a retreating target for long distances?
 

crobato

Colonel
VIP Professional
I don't really see the value of super long range either. Even with active guided missiles, it would take a ground radar to que the missile in midphase guidance flight. In theory, that's a job that can also be transferre to an AEW aircraft, but the danger to that, the AEW aircraft might also be a target to the attacker.

I tend to think that high range values when it comes to SAMs deals mostly on ballistic flight, which means the range of the missile as it flies from one point to the ground, and the farthest it can go before it lands on the second point on the ground. Call it ballistic range. Its nice to quote this as "range" since this fattens the marketing perception. although this should be applicable only to surface to surface missiles.

Far more important to a SAM is slant range. That's the range equals the hypotenuse of a triangle where the first point is the launch point, the second point is the target aircraft and the third point is the point of the ground where the aircraft target is on top. The slant of the triangle between the launch (first) point and the target (second) point becomes the slant range. This range tends to be a lot shorter than ballistic range, and also tends to reflect the ground radar slant range as well.

As a very rough rule, let's just assume that slant range is about half of ballistic range. A missile let's say with 160km ballistic range might have a slant range of 80km.

When it comes to missile ads, its hard to say if the figures quoted are slant or ballistic range. Some articles are more honest and quote slant ranges, sometimes they would explicitly mention that. Others may not be as clear. Hence sometimes worth taking the missile range figures with a piece of salt.
 

Scratch

Captain
So slant range would be the point where the missile reaches is apogee. That point would also be beyond the point of the motor burn out already. I wonder how effective (maneuverable) such a big missile is at the point where it starts to fall down again. Especially against a fighter type target. It'll bleed of speed / energy pretty fast when pulling several Gs. Effective range would be even shorter than that. So these long range things are probably more something against bombers. A bit like the AIM-54 Phoenix in days gone by, wich also wasn't really maneuverable, though fast. But it already achieved it's goal when it either hit a non maneuvering bomber wich had to press for the target; or forced that bomber to turn around and run.
 

crobato

Colonel
VIP Professional
Assuming the missile flies in a beam rider fashion. That is, follows a straight line to the target.

But sometimes missiles follow a ballistic path instead, goes up, then falls down, but still reaches the same target point. This is possible if the missile is command guided during midphase. But its still determined by slant range because both missile and target has to be LOS with the ground radar. Attacking from the top gives the missile a better kill probability than trying to attack the target from below.
 

Finn McCool

Captain
Registered Member
Attacking from the top gives the missile a better kill probability than trying to attack the target from below.
Why is that? I would think that attacking from below would cause the ground to interfere, whereas if the missle came from below the aircraft would stick out against the sky. A missle attacking from above would be better off from a speed and performance standpoint in the terminal phase, but to get there in the first place it would have to move a lot quicker and generally be more high performance.

Although I might be totally wrong, I'm a relative hardware noob.
 

crobato

Colonel
VIP Professional
What you said is also true.

Attacking from the top however, means the missile is increasing speed, not decreasing, if the missile has gone ballistic, meaning no more powered flight.

Since you can't beat physics, its better to improve your electronics so you can compensate on the fact that the missile seeker is looking down upon the target, therefore face ground clutter.
 

pla101prc

Senior Member
PLA needs long range SAM as a part of its offensive air defence tactic against Taiwan airforce. so before the Taiwanese aircraft even encounters with the PLAAF they'll first have to survive the SAM's
 

crobato

Colonel
VIP Professional
I heard that before, why they placed S-300 and HQ-9 batteries off the coast facing Taiwan.
 

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