The Russian military has begun training on its S-350 air defense systems.
In a statement on February 26, 2020, the Russian Ministry of Defense said, “The first most advanced S-350 “Vityaz” system of anti-aircraft missile troops has arrived for the Aerospace Force. It has arrived at the anti-aircraft missile troops’ training center in Gatchina.” Gatchina is located close to St. Petersburg in northwest Russia.
Formal hand-over of the first S-350 to the Russian Ministry of Defense occurred in December of last year. The system underwent acceptance tests in the Astrakhan region ahead of its transfer to Gatchina. Russian troops have already conducted an exercise at the Gatchina training center. The Ministry of Defense said, “The combat team of the S-350 surface-to-air missile system demonstrated its skills, eliminated the notional enemy by electronic launches and made a march to a new positioning area.”
The S-350 surface-to-air missile system is based on a wheeled 8×8 BAZ-6909 chassis, enabling it to conduct missile launches and then reposition to another location to avoid enemy detection and targeting. According to TASS Russian News Agency, the S-350 can be deployed from march within five minutes.
Dozens of launchers are to enter service in the coming years. The Ministry of Defense said in a statement, “Until the end of the existing state armament program for 2018-2027, the industry is due to deliver 12 battalions of S-350 systems to the Aerospace Force’s surface-to-air missile troops. Each battalion includes 12 launchers of 12 missiles each.”
Alongside the launchers, each S-350 battalion comprises three radar stations as well as a command and control post. The Defense Ministry noted that Pantsir-S surface-to-air missile systems can be assigned to defend S-350 units.