Ukraine modifies F-16 killer S-200 Anti-Aircraft Missile System and hits Russian city Taganrog

Engineers from the Ukrainian military were able to modify the class of these missiles from anti-aircraft to "surface-to-surface" while maintaining the same area of impact.

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India. He holds an M.B.A in International Business. Books: Author: Foxtrot to Arihant: The Story of Indian Navy's Submarine Arm; Co Author : Warring Navies - India and Pakistan. *views are Personal

On June 28th, Ukraine launched two upgraded anti-aircraft missiles, C-200, against the port city of Taganrog, located in the southwestern Rostov region of Russia. One of the two missiles that were launched was shot down and landed in the Rostov region, while the other missile struck the city’s centre area, causing the ” Chekhov Garden” restaurant to be destroyed.

Unidentified shell fragments were discovered at the explosion location in Taganrog. The images depicted tiny metal balls that could be used with an explosive device. These destructive elements are employed to maximise the number of victims. Alternatively, the discovered metal components may be remnants of an exploding projectile.

Sergey Khatylev, a former anti-aircraft defence officer, recently interviewed MK, discussing the use of such munitions and their potential dangers.

The former officer believes that a sizable number of C-200 missiles can still be found in the depots of the Armed Forces of Ukraine despite these missiles being withdrawn from duty and decommissioned by the Ukrainian army.

Engineers from the Ukrainian military were able to modify the class of these missiles from anti-aircraft to “surface-to-surface” while maintaining the same area of impact. This area of effect covers an area that is roughly equivalent in size to a regulation football pitch.

The Russian TG channel “Rybar” has formed the presumption that the modification of the C-200 missiles may have involved improving the loading mechanisms of the C-200 complex. The range of the modified C-200s has been increased to 300 kilometres from the original 240 km due to improvements made to the missiles.

In the early 1960s, the Almaz Design Bureau was responsible for developing the long-range mobile anti-aircraft missile system S-200, which was given the code “Angara.” The S-200 Surface-to-Air Missile System was created around the same time as the “Dal” Surface-to-Air Missile System. It featured comparable settings for the engagement zone, although only having a single channel. 1967 marked the year when the Russian air defence forces formally implemented it. After that, improvements were made to this anti-aircraft missile system in the form of the S-200B (which had the code name “Vega”) in 1970 and the S-200D (which had the code name “Dubna”) in 1975. During these modifications, the engagement altitude of the missiles was raised from 20 kilometres to 41 kilometres, and the range of the missiles was expanded from 150 kilometres (S-200A) to 300 kilometres (S-200-D).

The improved version had excellent potential against ballistic missiles and had a substantially higher hit rate. They could also hit targets travelling at low hypersonic speeds of up to Mach 6, had a detection range of up to 600 km, and could search for targets at a height of more than 45,000 metres – all of these characteristics are excellent for ballistic missile defence.

The S-200 anti-aircraft missile system aimed to protect vital administrative, industrial, and military installations against assault by airborne threats. Throughout the Cold War, the anti-aircraft missile system was central to Soviet air defence. The system could work with both current planes and ones that would be made in the future. These aircraft types include airborne command posts, AEW&C (Airborne Early Warning and Control) aircraft, ECM (Electronic Countermeasure) aircraft, and other human and unmanned aerial vehicles. The S-200 was a versatile system that could function in various environmental situations due to its all-weather design.

Anti-aircraft missile divisions (AAMD) and guided anti-aircraft missiles (SAM) 5V28 are the primary elements of the S-200B anti-aircraft missile system. Each division included both a firing battery and a target illumination radar. High-potential continuous-wave radar is what the target illumination radar station uses to gather its data. Its primary purpose is to track and illuminate the target, ultimately providing the essential data for the missile’s guidance system. In addition, it maintains its illumination of the target even while the missile is in its phase of autonomous navigation.

There were a total of six 5P72V launchers in the launching battery, and it is on them that the storage, pre-launch preparation, and actual missile launches take place.

The control methods 83M6 and the automated systems “Senesh-M” and “Baykal-M” help to make the combat operation of the S-200B SAM system easier.

The guided anti-aircraft missile 5V28 of the S-200B system is a two-stage missile built according to a conventional aerodynamic scheme, and it features four long-span trapezoidal wings.

The initial stage of the vehicle is made up of four solid-fuel boosters that are positioned in the gap between the wings. The main stage incorporates a liquid bipropellant rocket engine and a pumping mechanism to ensure the engine receives all necessary fuel components. The structural makeup of the main stage consists of multiple compartments. These compartments house a semi-active radar homing head, onboard equipment blocks, a fragmentation-HE warhead with a fuse and detonator mechanism, fuel component tanks, a liquid rocket engine, and missile control devices. Additionally, the main stage has a fragmentation-HE warhead with a fuse and detonation mechanism. The missile is fired from a launcher that can be pointed in any direction and launched at an angle perpendicular to the direction of the ascent. A semi-active radar homing head mounted on the missile is responsible for providing both flight control and guidance in the direction of the target.

Despite its remarkable capabilities, the S-200 had one major flaw. It is limited mobility. The system could only be deployed on stationary locations. Therefore, the system was a relatively simple target for the adversary.

North Korea, Syria, Iran, Poland, and Bulgaria are the principal operators now, and they obtained missile systems in the 1980s and 1990s. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan inherited the S-200 systems. Iran, which also possesses a more modern S-300, is investing significantly in the S-200 modernisation and plans to make it mobile.

The Syrians used the S-200 to shoot down the US Navy’s A-4 and the Israeli Air Force’s F-16.


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