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questions about s300 variants missile range

totoro

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Does anyone have access to some credible literature or official sources offering information on missile families that are part of s300 SAM?
I would like to answer the following question:
What were the principal reasons 5v55R missiles is labeled with 25ish km more range over 5v55k, and in turn why is 5v55rm labeled with 15ish km over 5v55r?

Likewise, why is 48n6 labeled with 150 km range, 48n6d with 200 km and 48n6dm with 250 km?

I understand the ranges that are out there are subject to various interpretations and context.
But is there info to confirm rocket motor section of 5v55 variants is the same in all its iterations? Then the 48n6 missile came with new rocket motor (among other things) and all the following variants again have the same motor?

If the above assumption is true, it would suggest all the range increases were result of
A) different trajectories used (due to different guidance methods and/or simply wider seeker area in the missile)
B) targeting radar improvements, enabling better tracking of both targets and own missiles at longer ranges. (but if this is the reason, it wouldn't really need a different missile variant, would it? though again, more jamming resistant seeker might alone be enough for a new missile designation)
C) marketing/doctrinal decisions and changes, depicting stated ranges as max ranges versus targets of various speeds and flight profiles. (as shooting at mach 1.6 fighter and mach 0.9 b707 would certainly be different)


Or is it also likely that family subvariants had enlarged motor sections, due to newer and smaller electronics, or they received different and more potent rocket fuel?
 

SOC

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5V55K: 47 km
5V55KD: 75 km
5V55R: 75 km
5V55RD/RUD: 90 km
48N6/48N6E: 150 km
48N6D/48N6E2: 200 km
48N6DM/48N6E3: 250 km

The original 5V55K was limited in range due to its command guidance mode; the intended SAGG guidance mode had not yet been fully completed. So, the first S-300PT (SA-10A GRUMBLE mod 0) systems used the 5V55K and were pretty limited. The 5V55KD provided a range increase to match that of the first SAGG round, the 5V55R introduced with the S-300PS (SA-10B GRUMBLE mod 1). This was because the older S-300PTs became upgraded S-300PT-1s when modified to handle SAGG missiles. The system is backwards-compatible with older missiles and is smart enough to select a "stupider" missile in a cooperative environment (i.e. if you have the KD and the R in your TELs, the system will use the KD if there is no jamming or interference), so matching the 5V55KDs range to that of the 5V55R made sense to keep the engagement zone the same size. Further tinkering led to the increased-range 5V55RD. Range increases may have resulted in improved rocket motors, or changes to either the missile flight profiles or the effective range of the guidance radar and associated midcourse uplinks.

The 48N6 series for the S-300PM (SA-20 GARGOYLE) did introduce a newer rocket motor, providing their increased ranges, and continued tinkering provided increased range with each sub-variant.

A few other interesting notes:
1. The "D" suffix implies increased range.
2. Technically, every S-400 battery is an SA-21 GARGOYLE. SA-21 is the system, GARGOYLE is the codename for the 48N6-series missile. Not sure if GROWLER applies to the 9M96 or the 40N6.

Range data can be found in various Soviet/Russian export documentation, Almaz-Antey/Rosoboronexport/Rusarm marketing materials, Fakel materials (they made the missiles), and other sources.
 

totoro

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Thank you for your reply.

Further tinkering led to the increased-range 5V55RD. Range increases may have resulted in improved rocket motors, or changes to either the missile flight profiles or the effective range of the guidance radar and associated midcourse uplinks. The 48N6 series for the S-300PM (SA-20 GARGOYLE) did introduce a newer rocket motor, providing their increased ranges, and continued tinkering provided increased range with each sub-variant.

Quoted above is what i am interested in. We all know range was increased but, aside of the jump from 5v55RD to 48N6, there is no mention anywhere how precisely the range increase came about. Are there any source that talk more in detail about "tinkering"? You yourself say "may have resulted in improved motors" meaning you're not sure. But is there a publication whose author has been talking with engineers of the system, some historian who has dwelled onto the subject?

With western systems 20, 30 years old one can fairly often find details such as variant B had improved fuze put in, variant C the new warhead, then D introduced longer motor and new seeker, etc, etc. But for s300 family i can't find any such details on what the different missile subvariants (within a family of missiles) actually had improved upon.

Knowing the history of sm-1/sm-2 development, I am inclined to assume that 5v55rd to 48n6 was actually the only change in rocket motor itself, or potential kinetic energy. Since so much of Standard missile range increases were due to guidance changes and trajectory changes, it'd be pretty logical the same was with s300. even more so when one takes into account just how huge s300 missiles are. There's a bunch of kinetic energy and ballistic trajectory range in that thing, one "just" needs proper guidance to harness it.

Of course there could've been new rocket motors. But just as well increases may be due to vast improvements of targeting radar during these 20-30 years. Better resolution, sensitivity and range of said radar may've just as well allowed for tracking not only long range targets but more importantly systems' own missiles in flight, so they don't have to rely just on inertial stabilization but on precise course corrections over the ever increasing distances. I imagine it couldn't have been that easy tracking own missiles 150 km away for the radar in 1978 or 200 km away for the radar in 1986.

But I can't be sure. I don't want to guesstimate if there are proper sources out there. Are there sources about it?
 

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