A succinct history of Russian missile development leading to the S-300 and S-400, as seen in action today.

Caveat, I am a Steven J Zaloga fanboy from way back, but will be objective in reviewing this title by him, and illustrated by Felipe Rodriguez. 

From the publisher:

An expert account of the development, role, and capabilities of the S-300 and S-400 air defence missile systems, key strategic weapons in Putin's Russia.

Few modern missile systems have had such significance as the S-300 family. Highly regarded technically, Russia's most powerful air-defense systems have been a major strategic asset to the country, exported to major powers around the world, and are a key weapon in many international hotspots and in recent wars.

In this book, professional missile systems analyst Steve Zaloga uses his specialist knowledge to assess and analyse them in detail. He explains that the S-300 is, in fact, three systems: the S-300P, designed as a replacement for older Soviet strategic SAM systems, the S-300V, developed to defend against Pershing ballistic missiles, and the S-300F, designed for ship defense. He also considers the supplementary S-350 system and the new-generation S-400 system, deployed in Syria and sold to both China and Turkey. An assessment of the latest S-500 system, designed to counter ballistic missiles and hypersonic cruise missiles, is also provided.

Packed with detailed colour artwork and new photos, this book explains the considerable evolution of the S-300 family, perhaps the world's most famous strategic SAM, over the last three decades.


Illustrated throughout with 40 photos and 8 pages of colour illustrations, dimensions 248 x 184 mm, pages 47.


introduction p.4, origins p.4, development p.9, assessment p.46, further reading p.47, index p.48. 

Development includes the following

S-300 Biryuza (SA-10A Grumble)

S-300PS Volkhov M6

S-50 Moscow Defense Ring

The second generation: S-300PM Volkhov M-6M (SA-20A Gargoyle)

S-300PMU Export system

Catering to the export market: S-300PMU-2 Favorit )SA-20B Gargoyle)

S-350 Vityaz (SA-28)

the third generation: S-400 Triumf  (SA-21A Growler)

The naval S-300F Fort/Rif (SA-N-6 Grumble)

S-300V (SA-12 Giant/Gladiator)

S-300VM (SA-23)

S-500 Prometey ATBM


A well written synopsis of the develop of Russian SAM systems leading to the S-300 and -400, supported with some great illustrations, side-bars, and tables. The book touches on the politics, which is an inseparable feature of anything Russian, both internal and domestic; case in point: (paraphrasing here) leadership of a development program for the S-50 Moscow defense ring was offered to Boris Bunkin, head of Almaz, and Veniamin Yefremov of Antey, two design bureaus of the day, but such was the animosity between the two that neither took it until the Defence Minister step in. Go figure. 

The book is well written and very relevant today, with Russian SAMs serving around the world over the four decades, and the 300 and 400 in action today in Ukraine. Most conflicts you'd recognize are mentioned here. 

A surprise snippet for me was the use of the 300 by Syria and its inability to shoot down Israeli aircraft, where the author implies a secret agreement between Russia and Israel (page 30), but in 'Assessment', put this down to "the quality of crew training, as well as the tactics and capabilities of the opposing air force, are as important as the system's paper statics.", page 47. 

Recommended for its brevity whilst covering all the salient points. 

Also, useful info for the model of this vehicle, which would build into a large kit once finished. 

Apocalypse artwork

Apocalypse artwork

This is a large vehicle

This is a large vehicle

with a large missile...

with a large missile...

modelling inspiration, check out that three tone camo.

modelling inspiration, check out that three tone camo.

words of explanation for above:

words of explanation for above:

some more great art-work. And a bonus table

some more great art-work. And a bonus table



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