The S-300 (NATO reporting name SA-10 Grumble) is a series of long-range surface-to-air missile systems developed by the former Soviet Union. It was produced by NPO Almaz for the Soviet Air Defence Forces to defend against air raids and cruise missiles. The S-300 is still regarded as one of the most potent anti-aircraft missile systems in active use.
| S-300 Family|
NATO reporting name:
SA-10 Grumble, SA-12 Giant/Gladiator, SA-20 Gargoyle, SA-N-6 Grumble, (S-300FM SA-N-20)
|Type||Long-range surface-to-air and anti-ballistic missile system|
|Place of origin||Soviet Union|
|Used by||See list of operators|
|Produced||1975–2011 (for PS and PM)|
It is used by Russia, Ukraine, and other former Eastern Bloc countries, along with Bulgaria and Greece. It is also used by China, Iran, and other countries in Asia.
The system is fully automated, though manual observation and operation are also possible. Each targeting radar provides target designation for the central command post. The command post compares the data received from the targeting radars and filters out false targets. The central command post has both active and passive target detection modes. Missiles have a maximum range of 40 kilometres (25 mi) from the command post.
The successor to the S-300 is the S-400 (NATO reporting name SA-21 Growler), which entered service on 28 April 2007.
There are currently three main variations of the S-300, named S-300V, S-300P, S-300F. The production of the S-300 started in 1975. The tests for the S-300P variant were completed in 1978. The tests for the S-300V variant were conducted in 1983, and its anti-ballistic capabilities were tested in 1987. Numerous versions have since emerged with different missiles, improved radars, better resistance to countermeasures, longer range, and better capability against short-range ballistic missiles or targets flying at very low altitude.
|Antey 2500||S-300PM2||S-300PMU2||Domestic Version|
The S-300PT (Russian: С-300П, NATO reporting name SA-10A Grumble) is the original version of the S-300. The P suffix stands for PVO-Strany (Russian: противовоздушная оборона–страны, or country air defence). In 1987, over 80 of these systems were active, mainly around Moscow. An S-300PT unit consists of a 36D6 (NATO reporting name Tin Shield) surveillance radar, a 30N6 (FLAP LID) fire control system, and 5P85-1 launch vehicles. The 5P85-1 vehicles are semi-trailer trucks. A 76N6 (CLAM SHELL) low-altitude detection radar is usually also a part of the unit.
The S-300PT had a passive electronically scanned array radar and had the ability to engage multiple targets with a single fire-control system. Since the original system was semi-mobile, it took over one hour to set it up for firing, and the missile hot launch system could scorch the transporter erector launcher (TEL).
It was originally intended to use a track-via-missile (TVM) guidance system. However, the TVM system had problems tracking targets below 500 metres (1,600 ft). To improve tracking of low-altitude targets, a command-guidance system was added to guide the missile for the initial part of the flight. This allowed the minimum engagement altitude to be set to 25 metres (82 ft).
Improvements to the S-300P resulted in several sub-versions for both domestic and international markets. The S-300PT-1 (SA-10B) and S-300PT-1A (SA-10C) are incremental upgrades of the original S-300PT system, using a new 5V55KD missile and a cold launch method. The time it took to set the system up was reduced to 30 minutes and trajectory optimizations allowed the 5V55KD to reach a range of 75 kilometres (47 mi).
The S-300PS/S-300PM (Russian С-300ПC/С-300ПМ, NATO reporting name SA-10D/E Grumble) was introduced in 1985 and is the only version thought to have been fitted with a nuclear warhead. This model saw the introduction of the modern TEL and mobile radar and command-post vehicles that were all based on the MAZ-7910 8 × 8 truck. This model also featured new 5V55R missiles, which increased the maximum engagement range to 90 km (56 mi) and introduced a terminal semi-active radar homing (SARH) guidance mode. The surveillance radar of these systems was designated 30N6. Also introduced with this version was the distinction between self-propelled and towed TELs. The towed TEL is designated 5P85T. Mobile TELs were the 5P85S and 5P85D. The 5P85D was a "slave" TEL, being controlled by a 5P85S "master" TEL. The "master" TEL is identifiable thanks to the large equipment container behind the cabin; in the "slave" TEL this area is not enclosed and is used for cable or spare tyre storage.
The next modernization, called the S-300PMU, (Russian: С-300ПМУ, US DoD designation SA-10F Grumble) was introduced in 1992 for the export market and featured the upgraded 5V55U missile, which still utilized the intermediate SARH terminal guidance method and smaller warhead of the 5V55R but increased the engagement envelope to give this missile roughly the same range and altitude capabilities as the newer 48N6 missile (maximum range 150 kilometres (93 mi)). The radars were also upgraded, with the surveillance radar for the S-300PMU being designated 64N6 (BIG BIRD) and the illumination and guidance radar being designated 30N6-1 in the GRAU index.
The total production for the S-300P systems was 3,000 launchers and 28,000 missiles through 2012.
The S-300PMU-1 (Russian: С-300ПМУ-1, US DoD designation SA-20A, NATO reporting name SA-20 Gargoyle) was also introduced in 1993, with the new and larger 48N6 missiles for the first time in a land-based system, and keeping all the same performance improvements from the S300PM version, including the increased speed, range, TVM guidance, and ABM capability. The warhead is slightly smaller than the naval version at 143 kg (315 lb). This version also saw the introduction of the new and more capable 30N6E TOMB STONE radar.
The S-300PMU-1 was introduced in 1993, using different missile types in a single system for the first time. In addition to the 5V55R and 48N6E missiles, the S-300PMU-1 can utilise two new missiles, the 9M96E1 and 9M96E2. Both are significantly smaller than the previous missiles, at 330 and 420 kg (730 and 930 lb), respectively, and carry a smaller 24 kg (53 lb) warhead. The 9M96E1 has an engagement range of 1–40 km (0.62–25 mi), and the 9M96E2 of 1–120 km (0.62–75 mi). They are still carried 4 per TEL. Rather than just relying on aerodynamic fins for manoeuvring, they use a gas-dynamic system which allows them to have an excellent probability of kill (Pk) despite the much smaller warhead. The Pk is estimated at 0.7 against a tactical ballistic missile, for either missile. The S-300PMU-1 typically uses the 83M6E command-and-control system, although it is also compatible with the older Baikal-1E and Senezh-M1E CCS command-and-control systems. The 83M6E system incorporates the 64N6E (BIG BIRD) surveillance/detection radar. The fire control/illumination and guidance radar used is the 30N6E(1), optionally matched with a 76N6 low-altitude detection radar and a 96L6E all-altitude detection radar. The 83M6E command-and-control system can control up to 12 TELs, both the self-propelled 5P85SE vehicle and the 5P85TE towed launchers. Generally, support vehicles are also included, such as the 40V6M tow vehicle, intended for lifting of the antenna post.
China developed its own version of the S-300PMU-1, called HQ-15. Previously, the missile was referred to in a Western think tank[which?] as the HQ-10, causing confusion with the unrelated HQ-10 short-range point-defense missile system.
The S-300PMU-2 Favorit (Russian: С-300ПМУ-2 Фаворит, DoD designation SA-20B), introduced in 1997 (presented ready 1996), is an upgrade to the S-300PMU-1 with a range of 195 km (121 mi) with the introduction of the 48N6E2 missile. This system is apparently capable against not just short-range ballistic missiles, but also medium-range ballistic missiles. It uses the 83M6E2 command and control system, consisting of the 54K6E2 command post vehicle and the 64N6E2 surveillance/detection radar. It employs the 30N6E2 fire control/illumination and guidance radar. Like the S-300PMU-1, 12 TELs can be controlled, with any mix of 5P85SE2 self-propelled and 5P85TE2 trailer launchers. Optionally it can make use of the 96L6E all-altitude detection radar and 76N6 low-altitude detection radar.
The S-300F Fort (Russian: С-300Ф, DoD designation SA-N-6, F suffix for Russian: Флотская or Naval) was introduced in 1984 as the original ship-based (naval) version of the S-300P system developed by Altair, with the new 5V55RM missile with range extended to 7–90 km (4.3–56 mi; 3.8–49 nmi) and maximum target speed up to Mach 4, while the engagement altitude was reduced to 25–25,000 m (82–82,021 ft). The naval version utilises the TOP SAIL or TOP STEER, TOP PAIR, and 3R41 Volna (TOP DOME) radar, and utilises command guidance with a terminal SARH mode. Its first installation and sea trials were on a Kara-class cruiser and it is also installed on Slava-class cruisers and Kirov-class battlecruisers. It is stored in eight (Slava) or twelve (Kirov) 8-missile rotary launchers below decks. The export version of this system is known as Rif (Russian: Риф or reef). The NATO name, found also in colloquial use, is Grumble.
The S-300FM Fort-M (Russian: С-300ФМ, DoD designation SA-N-20) is another naval version of the system, installed only on the Kirov-class cruiser Pyotr Velikiy, and introducing the new 48N6 missile. It was introduced in 1990 and has a missile speed of approximately Mach 6 for a maximum target engagement speed of up to Mach 8.5, a warhead size of 150 kg (330 lb), an engagement range of 5–150 km (3.1–93 mi), and an altitude envelope of 10–27 km (6.2–16.8 mi). The new missiles also introduced a track-via-missile guidance method and the ability to intercept short-range ballistic missiles. This system makes use of the TOMB STONE MOD rather than TOP DOME radar. The export version is called the Rif-M. Two Rif-M systems were purchased by China in 2002 and installed on the Type 051C air-defence guided-missile destroyers.
Both naval versions are believed[according to whom?] to include a secondary infrared terminal seeker, similar to the newer US Standard missile system, probably to reduce the system's vulnerability to saturation. This also allows the missile to engage contacts over the radar horizon, such as warships or sea-skimming anti-ship missiles.
The S-300V, starting with the 9M83 missile, entered service in 1983, and it was fully integrated in 1988.
The 9K81 S-300V Antey-300 (Russian: 9К81 С-300В Антей-300 – named after Antaeus, NATO reporting name SA-12 Gladiator/Giant) varies from the other designs in the series. It was built by Antey rather than Almaz, and its 9M82 and 9M83 missiles were designed by NPO Novator. The V suffix stands for Voyska (ground forces). It was designed to be the top-tier army air defence system, replacing the 2K11 Krug, providing a defence against ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and aircraft. The 9M83 (SA-12A Gladiator) missiles have a maximum engagement range of around 75 km (47 mi), while the 9M82 (SA-12B Giant) missiles can engage targets out to 100 km (62 mi) and up to altitudes of around 32 km (20 mi). In both cases the warhead is around 150 kg (330 lb).
While it was created from the same project, hence sharing the common S-300 designation with the S-300P air defense family, the S-300V had different priorities that resulted in a different design. The S-300V system is carried on tracked MT-T transporters, which gives it better cross-country mobility than the S-300Ps moving on 8 × 8 wheeled transporters. Its search, tracking, and command systems are more distributed than the S-300P's. For example, while both have mechanically scanning radar for target acquisition (9S15 BILL BOARD A), the battery level 9S32 GRILL PAN has an autonomous search ability and SARH delegated to illumination radar on transporter erector launcher and radar (TELAR) vehicles. The early 30N6 FLAP LID on the S-300P handles tracking and illumination, but is not equipped with an autonomous search capability (later upgraded). 9S15 can simultaneously carry out active (3 coordinates) and passive (2 positions) searches for targets.
The S-300V places a greater emphasis on the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) mission, with a dedicated 9M82 (SA-12B Giant) anti-ballistic missile. This missile is larger and only two can be on each TELAR. It also has a dedicated ABM radar: the 9S19 HIGH SCREEN phased-array radar at battalion level. A typical S-300V battalion consists of a target-detection-and-designation unit, a guidance radar, and up to 6 TELARs. The detection-and-designation unit consists of the 9S457-1 command post, a 9S15MV or 9S15MT BILL BOARD all-round surveillance radar, and a 9S19M2 HIGH SCREEN sector surveillance radar. The S-300V uses the 9S32-1 GRILL PAN multi-channel guidance radar. Four types of missile-launcher vehicles can be used with the system:
The target detection ranges for each radar vary based on the radar cross-section of the target:
A S-300V system may be controlled by the upper level command post system 9S52 Polyana-D4 integrating it with the Buk missile system into a brigade.
China has built its own version of the S-300V called HQ-18.
The system is available abroad (1996)
The S-300VM (Antey 2500) is an upgrade of the S-300V. It consists of a new command-post vehicle, the 9S457ME, and a selection of new radars. These consist of the 9S15M2, 9S15MT2E, and 9S15MV2E all-round surveillance radars, and the 9S19ME sector surveillance radar. The upgraded guidance radar has the Grau index of 9S32ME. The system can still employ up to six TELARs, the 9A84ME launchers (up to 4 9M83ME missiles), and up to 6 launcher/loader vehicles assigned to each launcher (2 9M83ME missiles each). An upgraded version, dubbed S-300V4, will be delivered to the Russian army in 2011.
The Antey-2500 complex is the export version developed separately from the S-300 family and has been exported to Venezuela for an estimated export price of US$1 billion. The system has one type of missile in two versions, basic and amended, with a sustainer stage that doubles the range (up to 200 km (120 mi), according to other data, up to 250 km (160 mi)), and can simultaneously engage up to 24 aircraft or 16 ballistic targets in various combinations.
The S-300V4 is also called S-300VMD. It is developed to target high-value airborne targets, such as AWACS aircraft, at long distances. Different versions of the NPO Novator 9M82MD S-300V4 missiles have a range of 400 kilometres (250 mi) at Mach 7.5 or a range of 350 kilometres (220 mi) at Mach 9, and can destroy maneuvering targets even at very high altitudes. An export version exists, marketed as the Antey-4000.
The S-400 Triumf (Russian: С-400 «Триумф», formerly known as the S-300PMU-3/С-300ПМУ-3, NATO reporting name SA-21 Growler) was introduced in 1999 and featured a new, larger missile and several substantial upgrades and new features. The project encountered delays since its original announcement, and deployment only began on a small scale in 2006. With an engagement range of up to 400 km (250 mi), depending on the missile variant used, it was specifically designed to counter stealth aircraft.[dubious ] It is by far the most advanced version, incorporating the ability to survive PGM threats and counter advanced jammers by using automatic frequency hopping.
S-300 variants will work together in various combinations, although interoperability between different variants is limited. Various higher-level mobile commands can coordinate quantities of variants, at various locations, into a single battery, including integrating that battery with other air defence systems. A management system, consisting of combat control and radar detection, allows for fully automatic initiation and effective management of up to one hundred targets located up to 30–40 kilometres (19–25 mi) from the base station. All tasks – detection, tracking, target setting, target designation, development of target designation, target acquisition, maintenance, capture, tracking, missile guidance, and assessment of results – are capable of being dealt with automatically. The operator functions control the target detection and implementation of the launch of rockets. In a complex environment, manual intervention is possible in the course of combat operations. None of the previous systems possessed such qualities.
The S-300 is a multi-channel anti-aircraft missile system whose variants can engage ballistic missiles as well as aircraft and are able to allocate up to 12 missiles to up to 6 different targets. The system can destroy ground targets at a range of 120 kilometres (75 mi), and when launched on a ballistic trajectory, can reach up to 400 kilometres (250 mi). Its vertically-launched missiles allow for the engagement of flying targets in any direction without traversing the launcher.
Early versions are guided by the 30N6 FLAP LID or naval 3R41 Volna (TOP DOME) radar using command guidance with terminal semi-active radar homing. Later versions use the 30N6 FLAP LID B or TOMB STONE radar to guide the missiles via command guidance/seeker-aided ground guidance (SAGG). SAGG is similar to the U.S.-made Patriot's TVM guidance scheme. The earlier 30N6 FLAP LID A can guide up to four missiles at a time to up to four targets, and can track up to 24 targets at once. The 30N6E FLAP LID B can guide up to two missiles per target to up to six targets simultaneously. Early models can successfully engage targets flying at up to Mach 2.5, or around Mach 8.5 for later models, with one missile potentially being launched every three seconds. The mobile control centre is able to manage up to 12 TELs simultaneously.
The original warhead weighed 100 kg (220 lb), intermediate warheads weighed 133 kg (293 lb), and the latest warhead weighs 143 kg (315 lb). Each warhead is equipped with a proximity fuse and a contact fuse. A warhead will expel from 19,000 to 36,000 metal fragments upon detonation, depending on missile type. The missiles themselves weigh between 1,450 and 1,800 kg (3,200 and 3,970 lb). Missiles are catapulted clear of the launching tubes before their rocket motors fire, and can accelerate at up to 100 g (1 km/s2). They launch straight upwards and then tip over towards their target, removing the need to aim the missiles before launch. The missiles are steered with a combination of control fins and thrust vectoring vanes. The sections below give exact specifications of the radar and missiles in the different S-300 versions. Since the S-300PM, most vehicles are interchangeable across variations.
The 30N6 FLAP LID A is mounted on a small trailer. The 64N6 BIG BIRD is mounted on a large trailer along with a generator and is typically towed with the now familiar 8-wheeled truck. The 76N6 CLAM SHELL (5N66M etc.) is mounted on a large trailer with a mast that is between 24 and 39 m (79 and 128 ft) tall. It is usually is used with a mast. With the mast, it has a target detection range of 90 kilometres (56 mi) if altitude of the target is 500 metres (1,600 ft) above the ground.
The original S-300P utilises a combination of the 5N66M continuous-wave radar Doppler radar for target acquisition and the 30N6 FLAP LID A I/J-band phased-array digitally-steered tracking-and-engagement radar. Both are mounted on trailers. In addition, there is a trailer-mounted command centre and up to twelve trailer-mounted erector/launchers with four missiles each. The S-300PS/PM is similar but uses an upgraded 30N6 tracking-and-engagement radar with an integrated command post and has truck-mounted TELs.
If the battery was employed in an anti-ballistic-missile or anti-cruise-missile role, the 64N6 BIG BIRD E/F-band radar would also be included. It is capable of detecting ballistic missiles up to 1,000 km (620 mi) away, travelling at up to 10,000 km/h (6,200 mph), and cruise missiles up to 300 km (190 mi) away. It also employs electronic-beam steering and performs a scan once every twelve seconds.
The 36D6 TIN SHIELD radar can also be used to augment the S-300 system to provide earlier target detection than the FLAP LID radar allows. It can detect a missile-sized target flying at an altitude of 60 metres (200 ft) at least 20 km (12 mi) away, at an altitude of 100 m (330 ft) at least 30 km (19 mi) away, and at high altitude up to 175 km (109 mi) away. In addition a 64N6 BIG BIRD E/F band target-acquisition radar can be used, which has a maximum detection range of 300 km (190 mi).
The S-300 FC Radar Flap Lid can be mounted on a standard pylon.
|GRAU index||NATO reporting name||Specialisation||Target detection range||Simultaneously detected targets||NATO frequency band||First used with||Notes|
|36D6||TIN SHIELD||–||180–360 km (110–220 mi)||120||E/F||S-300P||Industrial designation: ST-68UM|
350 kW to 1.23 MW power
|76N6||CLAM SHELL||Low altitude detection||I||S-300P|
|76N6||CLAM SHELL||Low altitude detection||120 km (75 mi)||180||I||S-300PMU||1.4 kW FM continuous wave|
|64N6||BIG BIRD||Regiment radar||300 km (190 mi)||300||C||S-300PMU-1|
|96L6E||CHEESE BOARD||All altitude detection||300 km||100||S-300PMU-1|
|9S15||BILL BOARD||–||250 km (160 mi)||250||S||S-300V|
|9S19||HIGH SCREEN||Sector tracking||16||S-300V|
|MR-75||TOP STEER||Naval||300 km||D/E||S-300F|
|MR-800 Voskhod||TOP PAIR||Naval||200 km (120 mi)||C/D/E/F||S-300F|
|GRAU index||NATO reporting name||NATO frequency band||Target detection range||Simultaneously tracked targets||Simultaneously engaged targets||First used with||Notes|
|30N6||FLAP LID A||I/J||4||4||S-300P|
|30N6E(1)||FLAP LID B||H-J||200 km (120 mi)||6||6||S-300PMU||Phased array|
|30N6E2||FLAP LID B||I/J||200 km||6||6||S-300PMU-2|
|9S32-1||GRILL PAN||Multi-band||140–150 km (87–93 mi)||6||6||S-300V|
|3R41 Volna||TOP DOME||I/J||100 km (62 mi)||S-300F|
|GRAU index||Year||Range||Maximum velocity||Maximum target Speed||Length||Diameter||Weight||Warhead||Guidance||First used with|
|5V55K/ 5V55R||1978/1982||47 km (29 mi) 75 km||1,900 m/s (4,250 mph)||1,150 m/s (2,572 mph)||7 m (23 ft)||450mm||1,450 kg (3,200 lb)||100 kg (220 lb)||Command||S-300P|
|5V55R/5V55KD||after 1982||75/90 km (/56mile)||1,900 m/s (4,250 mph)||1,150 m/s (2,572 mph)||7 m (23 ft)||450mm||1,450 kg (3,200 lb)||133 kg (293 lb)||SARH||S-300PT|
|5V55U||1992||150 km (93 mi)||2,000 m/s (4,470 mph)||7 m (23 ft)||450mm||1,470 kg (3,240 lb)||133 kg (293 lb)||SARH||S-300PT|
|48N6||accepted on arms 1993||150 km (93 mi)||2,000 m/s (4,470 mph)||2,800 m/s (6,415 mph)||7.5 m (25 ft)||519mm||1,780 kg (3,920 lb)||≈150 kg (330 lb)||Track-via-missile (TVM)||S-300PM|
|48N6P-01||1992||195 km (121 mi)||2,000 m/s (4,470 mph)||2,800 m/s (6,415 mph)||7.5 m (25 ft)||519mm||1,800 kg (4,000 lb)||150 kg (330 lb)||TVM||S-300PMU|
|9M82||1984||13–100 km (8.1–62.1 mi)
30 km (98,000 ft) alt
|2,400 m/s (5,400 mph)||9.9 m (32 ft)||1215mm||5,800 kg (12,800 lb)||150 kg (330 lb)||SARH by TELAR||S-300V|
|9M83||1984||6–75 km (3.7–46.6 mi)
25 km (82,000 ft) alt
|1,700 m/s (3,800 mph)||7.9 m (26 ft)||915mm||3,500 kg (7,700 lb)||150 kg (330 lb)||SARH by TELAR||S-300V|
|9M83ME||1990||200 km (120 mi)||SARH by TELAR||S-300VM|
|9M96E1||1999||40 km (25 mi)||900 m/s (2,010 mph)||4,800–5,000 m/s
|330 kg (730 lb)||24 kg (53 lb)||Active radar homing||S-300PMU|
|9M96E2||1999||120 km (75 mi)||1,000 m/s (2,240 mph)||4,800–5,000 m/s
|240mm||420 kg (930 lb)||24 kg (53 lb)||Active radar homing||S-300PMU|
|40N6||2000||400 km (250 mi)||Active radar homing||S-400|
The masking components of S-300 systems are used in full-scale inflatable layouts, equipped with additional devices to simulate electromagnetic radiation in the infrared, optical, and radar.
Additional means of masking are used, such as camouflage nets and placement of components in trenches, which considerably complicates detection from long range. Station interference with enemy radar SPN-30 and Veil-1 is also used.
Protection is accomplished by the placement of S-300 components in trenches (practiced as placing on the hills for a better view and more rapid scan of the horizon, and in the trenches for stealth and protection against fragments of explosions).
Composite elements to counter the radar missile program is for S-300 system Paperboy-E, the likelihood of intercepting missiles PIS type of HARM is 0.85 for missiles with active radar-guided, heat or body-managed system putting the probability of interception at 0.85–0.99. Under the interception-perceived inability of the object to cause harm because of his hit miss the target.
|Official designation of unit||S-300PMU||S-300PMU1||S-300PMU2 ||S-300VM/S-300V4||Patriot PAC-2||Patriot PAC-3|
|aerodynamic target||5–90||5–150||3–200||200 (400)||3–160||15, at most 20 / 0.3–20|
|ballistic targets||at most 35||at most 40||5–40||40||20||15–45 (20) possible max 50|
|aerodynamic target||0.025–27||0.01–27||0.01–27||0.025–30 /?-37||0.06–24||15[better source needed]|
|ballistic targets||(?)||(?)||2–25||1–30||3–12||15(?). 15, possible max 20.|
|Maximum target speed, m/s||1,150, at most 1,300 (for the escort 3000)||at most 2,800 (for the escort 10000 km/hr)||at most 2,800||4,500 of ballistic targets||at most 2,200||at most 1,600[better source needed]|
|Maximum speed of the rocket complex, m/s||at most 2,000[better source needed]||2000||1,900||2,600 and 1,700/7.5M or 9M (more 3000) and (?)||1,700||(?) approximately 1,500|
|Number of simultaneously guided anti-aircraft missiles by one unit||at most 12||at most 12||at most 72||at most 48||at most 9|
|Number of simultaneously engaged targets by one unit||at most 6||at most 6||at most 36||at most 24||at most 9||at most 9|
|Mass of a rocket, kg||1,400–1,600||(?)||330–1,900||(?)||900||312|
|Warhead weight, kg||150||(?)||180||(?)||91||74|
|Minimum time between missile launches, seconds||3–5||3–5||3 (0 at start from different
|1.5 (0 at start from different
|3–4 (1 at start from different
|Set up time and clotting time of starting complex, minutes||5||5||5||5||15/30||15/30(?)|
|Means of transportation||Wheeled||Wheeled||Wheeled||tracked||semi trailer||semi trailer|
Russian officials have stated that the system has performed well in real-world exercises. In 1991, 1992, and 1993, various versions of the S-300 destroyed ballistic missiles and other objects in exercises, with a high success rate (90% or more if 1 missile interceptor is used).
In 1995, it was the first system to destroy a R-17 Elbrus Scud missile in the air. China is to test the S-300PMU2's effectiveness in destroying targets in real exercises. The planned targets include a UAV (4.6 kilometres (2.9 mi)), a simulated strategic bomber (186 kilometres (116 mi)), tactical missiles (range of the system to the point of interception 34 kilometres (21 mi) and a height of 17.7 kilometres (11.0 mi)), and pinpoint missiles. In April 2005, NATO held a combat exercise in France and Germany called Trial Hammer 05 to practice Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses missions. Participating countries were pleased that the Slovak Air Force brought an S-300PMU along, providing a unique opportunity for NATO to become familiar with the system.
Israel's purchase of F-35 Lightning II fighters was allegedly intended in part to nullify the threat of S-300 missiles that were, at the time the fighters were initially sought, part of a potential arms sale to Iran.
In 2010, Russia announced that its military had deployed the S-300 systems in breakaway Abkhazia in 2008, leading to condemnation from the government of Georgia.
After a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 was shot down over Syria in November 2015, Russia deployed S-300 and S-400 systems to the region – some to the Khmeimim Air Base, some with the Russian cruiser Moskva.
On 17 September 2018, a Syrian S-200 system downed a Russian military plane, killing 15 Russian service members. Moscow accused Israel of indirectly causing this incident, and announced that to keep its troops safe, it would supply Syria with modern S-300 anti-missile rocket systems. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu objected to the move in a telephone call with Russian president Vladimir Putin, stating that the delivery of S-300 anti-missile rocket systems to "irresponsible players" would be dangerous for the region.
In 2020, Syrian military officials criticized the S-300 air defense systems supplied by Russia, saying they failed to protect Syrian sites from Israeli strikes. One official criticized the detection abilities of the system's radar.
On 17 May 2022, Israel said that a Russian-operated S-300 missile system fired a missile at a F-16 operated by the IAF. If confirmed, it would be the first time Russian forces have fired on Israeli jets. According to Channel 13 news, Russia fired 13 missiles at an Israeli F-16, but none of the jets were intercepted by the missile salvos. On 26 July, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz confirmed the initial report of one missile being fired by a Russian-operated S-300 system. However, he downplayed the incident as a "one-off", further stating that "Our jets weren't even in the area". As the missile had not locked on, it was no threat to Israeli jets. It still remains the first use of a S-300 against the Israeli Air Force.
During the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the S-300 system took active part in an armed conflict for the first time, different versions being listed in the active inventory of both sides. The Armenian systems were initially deployed around Yerevan. On 29 September 2020, Azerbaijan reported that Armenia was moving its S-300 systems closer to the conflict zone, and vowed their destruction. On 30 September 2020, Azerbaijani Armed Forces claimed the destruction of an Armenian S-300 system without providing further details. The first alleged combat firing of the S-300 happened during the night between 1 and 2 October when the Armenian Ministry of Defense claimed that Armenian S-300s had downed three Azerbaijani drones (not missiles as initially claimed) bound for Yerevan.
On 17 October 2020, Azerbaijani Armed Forces claimed the destruction of two radar elements that were part of an active Armenian S-300 SAM site being hit by a Bayraktar TB2 UCAV.
At the time of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, Ukraine had around 100 active S-300 batteries with as many as 300 launchers inherited upon the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. By 8 April, the Russians had knocked out at least 21 of the S-300 launchers that outside analysts confirmed with photos or videos, with the actual total of destroyed launchers likely higher. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in his message of 16 March to the U.S. Congress, had consequently asked specifically for help acquiring more of the long-range missiles. "You know what kind of defense systems we need: S-300 and other similar systems", Zelenskyy said.
The United States and its allies tried to figure out how to deliver S-300s to Ukraine. One plan was for Slovakia to transfer to Ukraine its single battery of S-300s, in exchange for the United States or some other country supplying Slovakia with a new air-defense system, such as the American-made Patriot. A few days after Zelenskyy asked for S-300s, Germany agreed to deploy some of its Patriots to Slovakia, as part of a NATO battlegroup.
On 30 March, Prime Minister Eduard Heger of Slovakia told CNN that he supported sending some of his country's own S-300s to Ukraine "because this is the equipment that Ukraine needs the most". On 8 April, U.S. President Joe Biden confirmed that Slovakia had transferred a Soviet-era S-300 system to Ukraine and said that the U.S. would reposition an American Patriot missile system to Slovakia in return. It appears that only one battery that was donated, which was a system that Slovakia inherited from the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993.
On 11 April, the Associated Press reported Russia's claims to have destroyed several air defense systems in Ukraine over the previous two days, indicating a renewed push to gain air superiority and take out weapons Kyiv described as crucial, ahead of a broad new Russian offensive in the east. Moscow claimed to have hit four S-300 missile launchers provided by a European country it did not name, but never showed any concrete evidence of that. Slovakia had given Ukraine such a system the previous week, but denied that it had been destroyed. Russia previously reported two strikes on similar systems in other places.
Russia's initial invasion was stalled on several fronts by stiff resistance from Ukrainian forces, which prevented the Russians from taking the capital and other cities. Failing to win full control of Ukraine's skies diminished Russia's ability to provide air cover for troops on the ground, limiting their advances while increasing exposure to greater losses. This was effectively proof of the essential value of Ukraine's S-300 defenses in place of the repeatedly requested no-fly zone rejected by NATO early in March as potentially risking escalation into World War III.
In early April, Iran also reportedly returned a large number of S-300 systems, for use against Ukraine, which it had purchased from Russia in 2007, along with a quantity of its own Iranian-made version, the Bavar-373, which has similar capabilities. Iran Foreign Minister Amir Abdolhainnan refuted allegations of arms transfers to Russia in a call with Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
On 8 July, the governor of the Mykolaiv Oblast, Vitaly Kim, claimed that Russia had been using S-300 missiles in a land-attack role by fitting them with GPS guidance and that some 12 missiles were fired using such guidance. On 30 September, The Wall Street Journal reported the claim of Kyrylo Tymoshenko, an adviser to President Zelenskyy, that 16 Russian S-300 missiles configured for ground-attack struck near Zaporizhzhia, killing at least 30 civilians and wounding 50 others. Debris from S-300 missiles was found after having struck buildings in Kharkiv on 8 October. Analysts from McKenzie Intelligence Services and the Center for Strategic and International Studies said that these missiles were likely from Russian systems repurposed for ground attack due to the dwindling stock of more precise dedicated anti-surface missiles.
However, some of the reported surface-to-surface missile strikes by S-300 missiles may actually be instances of Ukrainian S-300s failing to intercept targets, and subsequently falling onto civilian areas on the ground. The most notable case of such unintentional strikes occurred on 15 November 2022, when a stray S-300 missile on a ballistic trajectory fell near the village of Przewodow in Poland, killing 2.
On 22 December, President Putin addressed reporters. He made a number of comments, including about the Patriot missiles being sent to Ukraine: "In regards to Patriots, this is quite an old system and it doesn't work as well as our S-300 (missile system)."
On 14 April, 2023, Sloviansk was hit by seven S-300 missiles, which killed at least 11 people.
The S-300 is mainly used in Eastern Europe and Asia, although sources are inconsistent about which countries possess the system.