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The S-300 is a series of Russian long range surface-to-air missile systems produced by the Almaz Scientific Industrial Corporation all based on the initial S-300P version. The S-300 system was developed to defend against aircraft and cruise missiles for the Soviet Air Defence Forces. Subsequent variations were developed to intercept ballistic missiles.
The S-300 system was first deployed by the USSR in 1979, designed for the air defense of large industrial and administrative facilities, military bases, and control of airspace against enemy strike aircraft.
The project-managing developer of the S-300 is Russian Almaz corporation (government owned, aka 'KB-1') which is currently a part of 'Almaz-Antei' Air Defense Concern. S-300 uses missiles developed by MKB 'Fakel' design bureau (a separate government corporation, aka 'OKB-2').
The S-300 is also capable of destroying ballistic missile targets, and is regarded as one of the most potent anti-aircraft missile systems currently fielded. Its radars have the ability to simultaneously track up to 100 targets while engaging up to 12. S-300 deployment time is five minutes. The S-300 missiles are sealed rounds and require no maintenance over their lifetime.
Missiles 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 Patriot's TVM guidance scheme. The earlier 30N6 FLAP LID A can guide up to 4 missiles at a time to up to 4 targets, and can track up to 24 targets at once. The 30N6E FLAP LID B can guide up to 2 missiles per target to up to 6 targets simultaneously. Targets flying at up to Mach 2.5 can be successfully engaged or around Mach 8.5 for later models. One missile can be 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). All are equipped with a proximity fuze and contact fuze. The missiles themselves weigh between 1450 kg (3200 lb) and 1800 kg (3970 lb). Missiles are catapulted clear of the launching tubes before their rocket motor fires, which 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 through thrust vectoring vanes. The sections below give exact specifications of the radar and missiles in the different S-300 versions. It should be noted that since the S-300PM most vehicles are interchangeable across variations.