S-200 (missile)

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S-200 Dubna
SA-5 Gammon
ZRK S-200V 2007 G1.jpg
S-200 missile (Vega) on its launcher
TypeStrategic SAM system
Place of originSoviet Union
Service history
In service1967–present
Used bySee list of present and former operators
WarsFirst Libyan Civil War
Syrian Civil War
Production history
DesignerKB-1 design bureau (system), GSKB Spetsmash (launcher)[1]
DesignedEarly 1950s
VariantsS-200, S-200V (S-200VE), S-200D (S-200DE), S-200A

Semi-active radar homing

The NPO Almaz S-200 Angara/Vega/Dubna (Russian Ангара/Вега/Дубна), NATO reporting name SA-5 Gammon (initially Tallinn),[2] is a very long range, medium-to-high altitude surface-to-air missile (SAM) system designed in the 1960s to defend large areas from bomber attack or other strategic aircraft. Each battalion has 6 single-rail missile launchers for the 10.8 m (35 ft) long missiles and a fire control radar. It can be linked to other, longer-range radar systems.


Two-stage V-400 (5V11) Angara missile of the Dal SAM system in Saint-Petersburg Artillery museum. This was given the name SA-5 "Griffon" in the west, although it is unrelated to the "Gammon".

The S-200 surface-to-air missile system was designed for the defense of the most important administrative, industrial and military installations from all types of air attack. S-200 provides defeat of modern and advanced aircraft, including air command and control centers, AWACS aircraft, aircraft jamming creation and other manned and unmanned aerial vehicles. The S-200 is an all-weather system that can be operated in various climatic conditions.[3]

By 1966, the S-200 was officially accepted into service in order to replace the failed anti-ballistic missile RZ-25/5V11 "Dal". The Dal was assigned the NATO reporting name SA-5 "Griffon" before it was cancelled.

The first S-200 operational regiments were deployed in 1966 with 18 sites and 342 launchers in service by the end of the year. By 1968 there were 40 sites, and by 1969 there were 60 sites. The growth in numbers then gradually increased throughout the 1970s (1,100 launchers)[4] and early 1980s until the peak of 130[1] sites and 2,030 launchers was reached in 1980–1990.[4]


TypeSurface-to-air missile
Place of originSoviet Union
Service history
In service1967–present
Used bySee list of operators
Production history
DesignerOKB-2 design bureau (missile), SKB-35 bureau (avionics), NII-125 research institute (solid rocket fuel)
Variants5V21, 5V28, 5V28V
Specifications (5V28V[1])
Mass7,100 kg (15,700 lb)
Length10.8 m (35 ft)
Warhead weight217 kg (478 lb)
proximity and command fusing[5]

Propellantdual-thrust liquid-fueled rocket motor
300 kilometres (190 mi)[6]
Flight altitude40,000 metres (130,000 ft)
Boost time4 solid-fueled strap-on rocket boosters
SpeedMach 6 (7,350 km/h; 4,567 mph)[6]
semi-active radar homing seeker head

Each missile is launched by 4 solid-fueled strap-on rocket boosters.[7] After they burn out and drop away (between 3 and 5.1 seconds from launch) it fires a 5D67 liquid fueled sustainer rocket engine (for 51–150 seconds) which burns a fuel called TG-02 Samin (50% xylidine and 50% triethylamine), oxidized by an agent called AK-27P Melange (red fuming nitric acid enriched with nitrogen oxides, phosphoric acid and hydrofluoric acid).[8] Maximum range is between 150 km (81 nmi) and 300 km (160 nmi), depending on the model.[9] The missile uses radio illumination mid-course correction to fly towards the target with a terminal semi-active radar homing phase. Maximum target speed is around Mach 6 for new model and Mach 4 for earlier model. Effective altitude is 300 m (980 ft) to 20,000 m (66,000 ft) for early models and up to 35,000 m (115,000 ft) for later models. The warhead is either 217 kg (478 lb) high-explosive fragmentation (16,000 × 2 g fragmentation pellets and 21,000 × 3.5 g pellets) triggered by radar proximity fuse or command signal, or a 25 kt nuclear warhead triggered by command signal only. Each missile weighs around 7,108 kg (15,670 lb) at takeoff.[9]

The system utilises radio semi active guidance throughout the missile's flight, which is far more accurate at long range than the command guidance method used by the earlier S-75 Dvina and other missiles.[citation needed] The existence of an optional terminal passive radar homing mode for use against airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft remains unconfirmed.[citation needed] Peak missile speed is around Mach 8 and the single-shot kill probability is quoted as 0.85, presumably against a high altitude bomber-type target.[citation needed]

Main radar system[edit]

The fire control radar of the S-200 system is the 5N62 (NATO: Square Pair) H band continuous wave radar, whose range is 270 km (170 mi). It is used for both the tracking of targets and their illumination.

Additional radar systems[edit]

  • P-14/5N84A "Tall King" A-band early warning radar (range 600 km (370 mi), 2–6 RPM, maximum search altitude 46 km (29 mi))
  • or "Big Back" E-band early warning radar 600 km (370 mi)
  • Kabina 66/5N87 "Back Net" or "Back Trap" E-band early warning radar (with special low-altitude search mod, range 370 km (230 mi), 3–6 RPM)
  • P-35/37 "Bar Lock\Bar Lock B" 1,000 kW E\F-band target detection and tracking radar (with integrated IFF, range 392 km (244 mi), 7 RPM)
  • "Side Net" or "Odd Pair" E-band height finding radar (also used by the SA-2, SA-4 and SA-6, range 240 km (150 mi), 3–6 RPM)
  • P-15M(2) "Squat Eye" 380 kW C-band target detection radar (range 128 km (80 mi)


  • S-200A "Angara" (SA-5a), with the V-860/5V21 or V-860P/5V21A missile, introduced in 1967, range 17-180 km (110 mi), ceiling 20 km (12 mi)/0.5–40. The probability of hitting the target 0.45–0.98[10]
  • S-200V "Vega" (SA-5b), with the V-860PV/5V21P missile, introduced in 1970, range 240 km (150 mi) minimum 7 km, ceiling 29 km (18 mi) superior limit 35,[3] minimum height 0,05 km. Five divisions. Division – one goal and missiles at targets a maximum of 2. Missile has a semi-active radar homing. The launch – reclining, with a constant angle of elevation, from the launcher, is rotated horizontally.[3]
  • S-200 "Vega" (SA-5b), with the V-870 missile, range increased to 300 km (190 mi) and ceiling to 40 km (25 mi) with the new, shorter missile and solid fuel motor. The probability of hitting the target 0.66–0.99.
  • S-200M "Vega-M" (SA-5b), with the V-880/5V28 or V-880N/5V28N² missile, range 300 km (190 mi), ceiling 29 km (18 mi)
  • S-200VE "Vega-E" (SA-5b), with the V-880E/5V28E missile, export version, high-explosive warhead only, range 240 km (150 mi) Minimum target size of 0.3 sq. meters. Speed of the target -1200 m / s [11][12] The number of simultaneously fired targets. Up to 5 (the number of radar targeting). Greater than previously opportunity fight against stealth.[11]
  • S-200D "Dubna" (SA-5c), with the 5V25V, V-880M/5V28M or V-880MN/5V28MN² missile, introduced in 1976, high-explosive or nuclear warhead, range 300 km (190 mi), ceiling 0,3-40 km (25 mi). The probability of hitting the target 0,72-0,99.[10]

Command post S-300 (SA-20/SA-20A/SA-20B) can manage in any combination the elements of S-200 and S-300.[13][14] Missiles complex S-200 Dubna can be controlled command post system S-300,[14] command post S-300 may also be controlled[15] by the command post S-400 (S-200 Dubna still have in service)[12] Or through a higher-level command post (Organize Use PVO 73N6 "Baikal-1").[16]

Iranian air defense force has implemented several improvements on their S-200 systems such as using solid state parts and removing restrictions on working time. They destroyed a UAV target beyond 100 km range in military drill in recent years.[17] They use two new solid propellant missile named Sayyad-2 and Sayyad-3 via interface systems Talash-2 and Talash-3 in cooperation with S-200 system. These missiles can cover medium and long ranges at high altitudes.[18][19]

Also, Iran claims to have developed a mobile launcher for the system.[20]

Operational history[edit]


Starting in 1985, Libya received a number of S-200 missile systems.[citation needed] In the following months, Libyan forces fired a number of S-200 missiles in different occasions at US fighter-bombers, missing them.[21] In the USSR, three organizations (CDB Almaz, a test site and a research institute of the Ministry of Defense) conducted computer simulation of the battle, which gave the probability of hitting each of the air targets (3) in the range from 96 to 99%.[22][23]


Starting in January 1983, Syria received supplies of S-200 missiles from the Soviet Union.[24] They were organized into two long range surface to air missile regiments, each composed of two battalions of two batteries each for a total of at least 24 launchers. Later in the 1980s, the Soviet Union agreed to supply a third regiment increasing the number of launchers to 40-50. Initially the missiles were manned by Soviet crews,[25] later they were transferred to Syrian control. As such, Syria became the first country outside the Soviet Union to field the S-200 system.[26]

During the initial years of the Syrian Civil War, parts of the S-200 systems were occasionally spotted when Syrian Air Defense Force sites were overrun by rebel forces. Most notably radars, missiles and other equipment from S-200 systems was pictured in a state of disrepair when rebels overtook the air defense site in Eastern Ghouta in October 2012.[27][28] On 2 January 2017, the Syrian Army re-captured this air defense base.[29]

Starting with the Russian intervention in the civil war in late 2015, there were new efforts to restore some Syrian S-200 systems. Indeed, on 15 November 2016, the Russian defence minister confirmed that Russian forces repaired Syrian S-200s to operational status.[30] For example, in July 2016, the Syrian Army, with Russian assistance, rebuilt an S-200 site at Kweires airport, near Aleppo.[31][32] On September 12, 2016, the Israel Defense Forces confirmed that two Syrian S-200 missiles were fired at Israeli attack planes while they were on a mission inside Syrian airspace. The Syrian Defense Ministry claimed that an Israeli jet and drone were shot down.[33] According to the IDF spokesman's office, the claims are "total lies," and "at no point was the safety of IDF aircraft compromised." [34]

On March 17, 2017, the Israeli Air Force attacked a number of Syrian armed forces targets near Palmyria in Syria.[35] Israeli Air Force (IAF) send a group of 4 Aircraft, which flew through Lebanon Territory and in the border village of Bureij, Syria, launched Popeye (missile) (AGM-142 Have Nap) stand off misslies with range of 78 km[36] toward Syrian territory. Syrian Air defence force (SyADF) after some time alerted one S-200V (SA-5) Missile battery and retaliate towards Intruders, 2 Out of 4 attacking jets are illuminated with two Fire Control Radars 5N62, and fired missiles on 2 Targets, which are in that moment in the South Lebanon Territory.[37] During the action a number of Syrian S-200 missiles were fired at the Israeli aircraft.[38] One of the Syrian missiles, going ballistic after losing its target was inbound to a populated area in Israel. The Israeli missile defense fired at least one Arrow missile which intercepted the incoming rocket.[39] Two other S-200 missiles landed in other parts of Israel, having lost their target. According to Abkhazian Network News Agency (ANNA News), Syria claimed that they had shot down one IAF F-16 aircraft and damaged another.[40][38] while the Syrian Defense Ministry claimed that an Israeli fighter jet was shot down, which was denied by Israel, Israeli defence minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened to destroy Syrian air defence systems after they fired ground-to-air missiles at Israeli warplanes carrying out strikes.[41] The Jordanian armed forces reported that parts of a missile fell in its territory. There were no casualties in Jordan.[42][43]

On October 16, 2017, a Syrian S-200 battery located around 50 kilometers east of Damascus fired a missile at an Israeli Air Force surveillance mission over Lebanon. The IAF responded by attacking the battery and destroying the fire control radar with four bombs.[44][45][46] Despite this, the Syrian Defense Ministry said in its statement that the air-defense forces "directly hit one of the jets, forcing [Israeli aircraft] to retreat." Israel said that no plane was hit.

On February 10, 2018, Israel launched an air strike against targets in Syria with eight fighter aircraft as retaliation for a UAV incursion into Israeli airspace earlier in the day. Syrian air defenses succeeded in shooting down one of the Israeli jets, an F-16I Sufa, with an S-200 missile - this was the first Israeli jet to be shot down in combat since 1982.[47][48] The jet crashed in the Jezreel Valley, near Harduf.[49][50] Both the pilot and the navigator managed to eject, one was injured lightly and the other was injured more seriously, but both survived and walked out of hospital one week later.[51][52]

On September 17, 2018, a Russian Il-20M ELINT plane was shot down by a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile. Four Israeli F-16 fighter jets attacked targets in Syria's Latakia with standoff missiles, after approaching from the Mediterranean Sea, a statement by the Russian defense ministry said on 18 September. “The Israeli pilots used the Russian plane as cover and set it up to be targeted by the Syrian air defense forces. As a consequence, the Il-20, which has radar cross-section much larger than the F-16, was shot down by an S-200 system missile,” the statement said. The Russian ministry stressed that the Israelis must have known that the Russian plane was present in the area, which didn't stop them from “the provocation”. Israel also failed to warn Russia about the planned operation in advance. The warning came a minute before the attack started, which “did not leave time to move the Russian plane to a safe area,” the statement said.[53] On 21 September, an Israeli delegation visiting Moscow stated that the Israeli attack formation did not use the Russian Il-20 as a shield during the attacks, while blaming the incident on the Syrian Air Defense Force which fired missiles for forty minutes while the Israeli attack formation had already left the area.[54][55] Russian President Vladimir Putin downplayed the incident saying that "it looks accidental, like a chain of tragic circumstances".[56]

On 1 July 2019, a stray S-200 missile fired from Syria, presumably during bombing raids there, hit Northern Cyprus. The missile hit the ground around 1 a.m. near the village of Taşkent, also known as Vouno, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) northeast of Nicosia. The missile that hit Cyprus was a Russian-made S-200, said the Turkish Cypriot foreign minister.[57]


Map of S-200 operators in blue with former operators in red

Current operators[edit]

Former operators[edit]

  •  Belarus – Approximately 4 battalions.[1]
  •  Czechoslovakia – 5 battalions, passed on to successor states.
  •  Czech Republic – Inherited all Czechoslovak S-200 SAM systems, out of service since the mid 1990s.[1]
  •  East Germany – 4 battalions.
  •  Germany – 4 battalions former GDR, phased out around 1991
  •  Hungary – 1 battalion.[1]*
  •  Libyan Arab Jamahiriya – 8 battalions.[1]
  •  Moldova[1] 1 Battalion
  •  Russia - No longer in service in 2014
  •  Georgia[1]
  •  Mongolia – The Mongolian People's Army operated 4 battalions armed with SA-5 systems in 1985, but it is unlikely there are any operational as of 2011.[69]
  •  Ukraine – Last division was retired on October 30, 2013 [70]
  •  Soviet Union – Originally deployed with the ZA-PVO in the strategic air defense role. It was phased out starting in the 1980s and passed on to the successor states before the phasing out process could be completed.[1]

Incidents involving the S-200[edit]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]