Graphic Details Russian Surface to Air Missile Coverage in Europe

Photo shows launchers for the S-400 missile.
Photo shows launchers for the S-400 missile.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, has released an informational graphic highlighting Russia's increasing surface-to-air missile coverage in Europe.

The graphic released Monday details the Russian military's deployment of S-300 and S-400 surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems not only within Russia and Kaliningrad, the Russian city in a territory between Poland and Lithuania, but also Crimea and areas encircling the Ukraine, even Latakia, Syria.

The S-300 has a range of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles); the S-400 up to 400 kilometers (250 miles). Both systems are designed to target any number of U.S. and NATO aircraft, from bombers to fighters to spy planes.

Notably absent from the picture is any reference to the S-500, which a reader of this blog has argued was already deployed around Moscow but which an expert contacted by this correspondent has said remains in development.

Even so, "Russia has altered the security balance in the Black Sea, Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East by establishing large anti-access/area-denial (A2AD) exclusion zones," the institute's Kathleen Weinberger wrote in a summary accompanying the graphic.

"Advanced air defense systems create A2AD 'bubbles' that prevent Russia's opponents from establishing air supremacy in strategically significant theaters," it states. "Russia can use these systems to impede the ability of the U.S. to defend its NATO allies by disrupting the ability of US air forces to access conflict zones in the event of a crisis."

The graphic provides further evidence of similar warnings of evolving Russian SAM technology from U.S. military officials.

During a conference last year in Washington, D.C., Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, the service's European commander, said, "I don't think it's controversial to say that they've closed the gap in capability – not just in Europe, everywhere."

"Some of the array that's in Kaliningrad extends into Poland today, that's a fact," he said. "Up to this point, we have talked anti-access, area-denial with respect to the Pacific problem, but what I'm telling you is this is not just a Pacific problem, it is as significant in Europe as it is anywhere else on the planet."

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