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Is US Patriot Missile Losing Market Share to Russian S-400 Air Defence Systems?



Are US Patriot Missiles losing market to Russian S-400 Air Defence Systems? The US has threatened sanctions on any country that purchases Russian weapons but is especially sensitive to any S-400 deals. How do American Patriot Missiles compete against the Russian S-400’s? Why are more and more nations are keen to opt for S-400 systems, including key US allies like India, Turkey and Saudi Arabia? 

The CAATSA or Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act is a US federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia. CAATSA also proposes sanctions on nations doing business with Russian defence organizations. India recently inked a  $5 Billion pact with Russia to purchase S-400 missiles are also at risk for being sanctioned.

China has also purchased S-400 missiles from Russia and for that, the US has imposed sanctions on Beijing. The US has imposed sanctions on China’s Equipment Development Department, the military division responsible for weapons and equipment, and its director, Li Shangfu, for doing business with Rosoboronexport, Russia’s principal arms exporter.

Why is the US Irked by S-400 Missiles?

US claims that CAATSA is meant to punish  Russia for invading Crimea and involvement in the Syrian civil war. CAATSA also seeks to penalise Moscow for interfering in the 2016 US election, something that Moscow has categorically denied. But is there something else that is irking the Trump administration?

Even though the US did impose sanctions on China for buying SU-35 fighter jets, but experts that EurAsian Times talked to believe that the US is particularly bothered by rapid market penetration of Russian S-400 missiles.

Key US allies including Turkey and India have signed deals to buy the Russian systems, while Bahrain and Saudi Arabia may also “seal the deal” in near future. China, the biggest adversary of the US already has deployed the S-400 systems, while Moscow has equipped Syria with advanced S-300 Missiles, which has threatened their most advanced fighter jets, the F-35’s.

Is S-400 Better than Patriot Missiles?

Both are surface-to-air systems designed to shoot down any incoming hostile objects including fighter aircraft or ballistic missiles. But the S-400’s range of 250 kms gives it an edge over the Patriot missiles which has a range of about 160 kms. An upgraded version of the S-400 is expected to stretch its range to whopping 400 kms.

However, the biggest advantage of S-400 over any of its competitors is the powerful radar that can detect, track and eventually destroy targets moving twice as fast. Experts believe that it’s penetrating radar was one of the biggest factors why the Indian security establishment was extremely keen to acquire the S-400’s. While both systems are mounted on trucks, the S-400 can be ready for action in five minutes, compared to thirty minutes for a Patriot battery.

Even though Patriot missiles have a bigger market share than the S-400’s with nations like  Germany, Japan, the UAE, Taiwan, the Netherlands, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Greece, Israel, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan etc, but the US is increasingly perturbed not only  by S-400’s market penetration, but mainly by its competence and strong market reputation.

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