Monday, April 19, 2010

China deploys S-300 SAM system in Tibet

The PLA Air Force (PLAAF)’s Surface-to-Air Missile Corps has been operating the S-300 (NATO reporting name: SA-10 Grumble) family of surface-to-air missile (SAM) system developed by Russian Almaz Central Design Bureau since the mid-1990s. The S-300 missile system was regarded as one of the world’s most effective all-altitude regional air defence system, comparable in performance to the U.S. MIM-104 Patriot system. The PRC remains the largest export customer of the S-300, mainly due to its incapability to produce a similar system domestically or acquire it from another country.

By the end of 2008, the PLAAF operates a total of 160 S-300 launchers grouped into 10 SAM battalions (40 batteries). These launchers include 32 S-300PMUs, 64 S-300PMU1s, and 64 S-300PMU2s. Each launcher is equipped with four ready-to-launch missiles and 4~8 spare missiles. If taking additional spare and practice missiles purchased from Russia into account, the total number of missiles received by the PLAAF has amounted well above 1,000.

Recent photos indicate China has deployed S-300 SAM batteries in Tibet, to defend against India's growing air power.

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