TR1 wrote:How is an S-350 THAT much more bulky than Buk? The tracked footprint is large by itself. Buk also does not have a single multipurpose Radar unit unlike S-350E, so in terms of total vehicles you might have an even bigger footprint.
Yes, there are mobility differences between wheels and tracks, but actual system components are not much larger. Hell, the 9M96 is a smaller missile.
Most export operators take wheeled units in any case, so in that case the Buks tracks work against it. In any case, you can put Buk on a wheeled MZKT chassis.
S-350E is sold with 60km range, Buk was, what, 70km last I checked? Of course we all know S-350 range can be extended to 120km+ with ease, unlike Buk which is already at the limit of its envelope.
Their up time form march is probably identical- old S-300 could do it in 5 minutes.
Reload time? S-350 has 12 rounds PER VEHICLE, Buk has only 6.
Buk-m3 is supposed to have active-seeker missiles...just like S-350. If bought without them....seems an awful lot like a poor-mans S-350.....
Obviously there are differences, but the two overlap massively as well.
If I am an export buyer, both would be considered, since they roughly have the same range and footprint size. Buk has worse characteristics almost across the board, from radar to missiles.
Yes, it has the advantage of radar on every TEL vehicle....but that makes each battery very expensive....might end up costing as much as the conceptually much newer S-350E.
Yes yes I am well aware of the Russian military reqs these vehicles came from (though this is yet another symptom of Russian inability to standardize anything), but if you are looking for a Russian SAM bellow the S-400....it would be these two. I personally would be more interested in putting S-350E on tracks and calling it a day.
So your beef is actually with the difference between a strategic SAM and a tactical one.
Yes it's true that technology has narrowed the differences between them.
But S-350 batteries would be very hard pressed to keep up with a fast moving armour formation.. crossing over rivers in barge vehicles.. or taking to the hills and forests to wage a constant war of aerial attrition, always on the move and laying low when neccessary.
Can you even picture a S-350 battery doing anything like that?
Putting a S-350 launcher on tracks? You can't.
Maybe you can if you were to cut down the number of missiles from 12 to 6. Then redesign the missile containers to swivle out and raise rather than plant into the ground and erect. Then integrate the cabin into the body of the vehicle or rather get rid of it altogether and just put the driver and commander in the hull. Now you can add tracks. Congrats - you've now ended up something like a 9M96 missile version of a Buk-M3, minus the vehicle-mounted radar. Yes it is purely a conceptual difference - but an important one.
Bulky, heavy, road-mobile vehicles with a greater amount of missiles and better characteristics, versus a nimbler, more flexible, more survivable system but a less capable one in some parameters.
In fact their relative costs and expenses have nothing to do with it. Neither is Russia's inability to standardise everything (something the Russians are actually going for more ambitiously than any other military in the world at the moment). Not even their similar range is relevant here. Nor any other perceived overlap.
They are just 2 different systems for 2 different sets of situations, requirements, use cases, that's all, and there's no real way of getting around that. If you try to place one in the role of the other they will perform poorly, and if you try and make a unified system to fulfill both roles; it will end up as mediocre in everything. Hence you have 2 seperate systems instead.
5-minute tear-down/set-up times? It wouldn't surprise me actually if a Buk-M3 TEL could fire right on the move if need be, or at the very least immediately upon reducing speed and stopping. Unlike a S-350's search radar, the Buk-M3 radar vehicle is always looking around; and the TEL's own radars won't be idlying either.
Hell even the Buk-M3 reload vehicles are capable of launching missiles by themselves. With that sort of flexibility, having 12 ready to fire missiles is superflous. The S-350 needs such a capacity. The Buk-M3 doesn't.
First I heard about Buk-M3 missiles being active-seeking. If such missiles are bought then it would ruin the point - the Buk has many reduncancies, sensors channels making it hard to jam and counteract even with just passive missiles. It's the S-350 that has foregone some of that stuff - as it has active-seeker missiles to make its life easier instead.
In addition, with the cheaper, passive missiles the Buk makes more sense for the universal, independent role that it seems to be designed for, able to guarantee its own defense if neccessary with less worries about how much more expensive the missile it's firing is compared to the projectile it's targetting is.