Beijing's Big Missile Buy


China is taking delivery of Russia’s top-of-the-line S-400 antiaircraft missiles:

Russia recently revealed that it had sold China six battalions of its new S-400 anti-aircraft missile system. Each battalion will cost $500 million and includes training as well as spare parts and additional missiles. Each S-400 battalion has eight launchers, each with two missiles, plus a control center and radar and 16 missiles available as reloads. All equipment is mobile. S-400 is also known as the S-300PMU-3, SA-21 or Triumf and was renamed S-400 because it turned out to be far more than just another upgrade of the S-300 and was considered sufficiently different to warrant a name upgrade. Russia deployed its first S-400 battalion in 2010, around Moscow.

The S-400 is similar to the U.S. Patriot and pays particular attention to electronic countermeasures that the Americans might have, or be developing.

Two questions should concern us (and especially the Israelis), apart from the actual efficacy of the S-400 system. The first is if Russia will soon fulfill its threat to equip the Iranians with the S-400. The second is if the Iranians would be able to effectively man the systems themselves.