GarryB wrote:For the Russians it makes little sense to keep old missiles in service as SAMs.
Systems like SA-5 and SA-2 and SA-1 and SA-4 are obsolete and not really worth upgrading.
SA-3 would be useful mainly because over a huge flat plain a missile that can target relatively low flying threats could be useful against cruise missile targets where numbers are useful.
If using for experiments... for example the SA-5 has had a scramjet engine mounted on its nose for use in scramjet development, while the hundreds of thousands of SA-1 missiles produced are still being used to simulate air targets... since the 1970s they have used about 13,000 of them but there are still enormous numbers of obsolete missiles still available for use with fairly minor modifications.
the SA-8 is a very capable portable drone launcher system as an example.
For a less capable country likely to see less capable threats then some older systems might be viable with a few upgrades, but really with systems like Pantsir and TOR that have expensive vehicles but cheap missiles it really does not make any sense to use even upgraded old model SAMs.
Of course having said that India is using upgraded SA-6 missiles in its defence... in many ways it is a mini SA-4 in that it moves the four large external solid rocket motors into the core of the missile where after rocket burnout the core becomes a ramjet motor which powers the missile to its target.
Obviously the ramjet motor on the SA-6 is much smaller than on the SA-4.
Very simply if you have SA-2 and SA-3 in service then an upgrade to improve mobility as well as ECCM performance and indeed increasing the director channels so multiple targets can be engaged at one time to prevent the system being overwhelmed make a lot of sense, but it would be much cheaper to buy a TOR-M3 and S-350.
The talk about saving money by reusing platforms is a false economy for Russia... the quicker it can get all the obsolete platforms out of service and the new unified platforms (ie armata, kurganets, boomerang, and typhoon) into service the more money they will save.
Obviously however if a 2S1 chassis is still usable then for units that don't operate one of the new families might as well use it...
Pretty soon however when all the new turrets are ready the older chassis will be retired and standardisation and unification will be completed... simplifying logistics and spending and saving a lot of money.
In some areas with satured reserves of material (like Tanks), this preview can be right but I do not think it is right for mobile Surface-Air systems or mobile Surface-Surface systems.
Since years, even decades, it is obvious that the design and production of mobile systems on the areas of the SA, SS and artillery is prevailing over the towed systems. Militarov said perfectly why. Today, there is a strong presence of them in the active service. Almost all of the current active SA and SS systems are mobile, the heavy towed systems have been retired (except SS-18 and SS-19).
In the case of the SA systems, the level of production of mobile systems has not been big enough to create a reserve of them until now. Between the Surface-Air systems, the alone mobile systems in the reserve listed recently are most of the SA-6 and all the SA-4 systems that are without ammunition. As conclusion, the reserve of mobile Surface-Air systems is still far from satured in the Russian armed forces, and in this situation it is very difficult to see no-one of them retired in 10-15 years.
As example, from the mentioned models SA-4, SA-6 and SA-8 are mobile systems while SA-1, SA-2, SA-3 and SA-5 are heavy towed systems. From what I know the SA-8 remains active, the SA-6 too but most in the reserve, the SA-4 would be in the reserve, while the SA-1, SA-2, SA-3 and SA-5 would be totally retired, with the remaining ammunition transformed in target missiles. It is a clear sign.
Unlike in the case of the Artillery, some people, when think about Surface-Air or Surface-Surface systems think in the missile, like if the missile would be the system, and whitout the missile would not be a system. The missile is the ammunition of these systems. In Artillery improved ammunition keeping the same caliber gives to the artillery system, to the launcher, longer life. It is possible to do the same for mobile SA or SS systems. It is possible longer life for these these systems changing of ammunition.
When the reserves of mobile SA Systems are far from saturation in the Russian Armed Forces, I do not think the SA-4 launchers will be scraped.