15:02 GMT25 October 2020
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    Russia's formidable S-400 air defense system is so good that it could not be destroyed by the Boeing EA-18G Growler, the US electronic warfare aircraft, or any other single weapon – particularly when the S-400 missile complex is part of an integrated air defense system (IADS).

    Defense expert Tyler Rogoway described it the S-400 Triumf as an "incredibly capable and critical weapon system," adding that tackling it is "far from simple" but is not entirely impossible. The key to beating a complex defense system is to unleash a complex of measures against it, including jamming, surveillance and attack capabilities.

    "America's unique electronic warfare and radar suppression abilities includes the Growler, but also many other platforms and ancillary capabilities as well. This complex ecosystem of weaponry and sensors includes various surveillance aircraft, hacking and cyber warfare abilities, active suppression of enemy air defenses tactics and weaponry, along with low-observable aircraft and long-range 'standoff' munitions. The last two are especially potent when combined together and electronic warfare support is added," he wrote for Foxtrot Alpha.

    The United States is a true expert when it comes to radio electronic warfare (EW), defense expert Mikhail Khodorenko asserted, echoing Rogoway's sentiment. Americans have the best equipment for EW activities.  

    Jamming, according to Khodorenko, is an air defense system's worst enemy but it is not a deal-breaker when it comes to the S-400, especially when it is a part of a larger network.

    "Advanced IADS are increasingly using some level of sensor fusion to meld many different sensor's data together into a single common 'picture' that is capable of providing engagement-quality tracks of enemy targets," Rogoway explained, adding that this makes "tactics like stealth and jamming less effective."

    The S-400, however, is not omnipotent in itself, Khodorenko warned.

    "If the Boeing EA-18G Growler [takes part in an operation], fighter aircraft will be tasked with destroying it. If electronic warfare is waged from the ground, attack warplanes or long-range artillery will have to bomb the land-based station. Special conditions have to be created for the S-400 to be able to fulfill its tasks," Khodorenko explained.

    The S-400 Triumf (NATO codename SA-21 Growler) is an anti-aircraft and anti-missile system, which is capable of intercepting all types of modern air weaponry, including fifth-generation warplanes, as well as ballistic and cruise missiles at a maximum range of nearly 250 miles.


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    anti-missile system, air defense systems, jamming, electronic warfare, Boeing EA-18G Growler, S-400, Russia
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