Swedish Defence Institute Disparages S-400, Calls Russia ‘Underdog’

A string of reports by the Swedish Defence Research Institute has claimed the “Russian threat”, a common trope for both politicians and journalists alike, is exaggerated.

“Bursting the Bubble”, a new report by Swedish Defence Research Institute (FOI), claimed that Russia’s ability to deter an enemy’s deployment from a distance using long-distance missiles was exaggerated. The “bubble” refers to anti-access and area denial weapons (often referred to as A2/AD).

“In our report we establish that Russia’s A2/AD capability is less effective than what is claimed by either the Russian military or the Western press. For one thing, it’s more difficult than many people think to detect and strike a target that’s dozens of kilometres away”, FOI deputy research director Robert Dalsjö, the co-author of the report, said.

Secondly, analysis shows that the actual range of Russia’s new anti-aircraft system, S-400, is actually only 150-200 kilometres, rather than the stated 400 kilometres. Against low-flying missiles, the S-400’s range may be as short as 20 kilometres, the Swedish research claimed.

According to Dalsjö, this makes it impossible for Russia to “cut off” the Baltics using A2/AD resources alone. Instead, reinforcing the Baltics with NATO troops is “not hopeless as some debaters would claim”, Dalsjö pointed out.

Dalsjö stressed that there are both passive and active countermeasures against A2/AD systems, ranging from electronic jamming to physical…

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