Air Defense: August 21, 2001


India has signed a contract to buy Russian Antey-2500 anti-aircraft missiles. These are the export versions of the S300VM, and have an anti-missile capability. The system uses two missiles, the SA-12a Gladiator (Russian designation 9M83, with a range of 75 kilometers) and the larger SA-12b Giant (Russian designation 9M82, range 100 kilometers). Tracked vehicles carry either four SA-12a or two SA-12b missiles, or a radar set. The system was originally designed to intercept US Pershing missiles, and has been improved. The newest missiles (9M82 and 9M83) are both two-stage solid fuel types, which are faster and have a higher degree of intercept than old missiles used in the S300 and S200 systems. Both missiles use inertial guidance for the first part of the flight and then switch to semi-active radar guidance. They both have a 150 kilogram "focused fragmentation" warhead which can be set in any of several patterns while in flight, allowing the operators to match the fragmentation pattern to the target. These missiles have a range of 200 kilometers against high-altitude air-breathing targets such as AWACS planes.--Stephen V Cole


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