Why the S-400 Missile is Highly Effective — If Used Correctly

Jul 12, 2019 | 13:43 GMT

An S-400 surface-to-air missile launcher is seen in Moscow, Russia.

An S-400 surface-to-air missile launcher is seen in Moscow, Russia. The Russian S-400 is arguably one of the very best all-around strategic SAM systems in operation today, and an even better replacement in the form of the S-500 is currently in development.

(SEFA KARACAN/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)


  • Modern long-range surface-to-air missile systems provide some of the most effective air defense in existence. 
  • However, extended-range SAMs are also inherently vulnerable to standoff and saturation attacks if not properly supported. 
  • Ultimately, the effectiveness of long-range SAMs depends on the country where they are deployed and how that country uses them. 

Russian long-range surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) are dominating the headlines. The country's S-400 SAM systems have landed in Turkey and its S-300 SAMs have been exported to Syria. There have also been public discussions about whether various Gulf states may buy long-range Russian air defense systems or if Iran may purchase S-400s to bolster its air defenses. Given the system's power, it's no wonder that such sales are making headlines. But the reality remains that the value of long-range SAMs does not directly equal their theoretical capabilities, depending far more on who is using the system -- and how....

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