Russia’s S-500 Prometheus Comes of Age
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Russia’s S-500 Prometheus Comes of Age

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Russia’s S-500 air defence system reportedly hit target nearly 300 miles (483 km)  away

Russia has reportedly conducted the longest range surface-to-air missile test
ever with its S-500 air defence system. If and when it becomes operational, the missile
defence system could significantly increase the Russian military’s anti-access
and area denial capabilities. The launch, conducted during a test campaign at
Kapustin Yar, near Astrakhan in southern Russia, reportedly downed a ballistic
missile surrogate target.

The Russian military is currently undertaking pre-service trials of the S-500,
after which the system will begin to be deployed operationally, initially as
part of the defensive umbrella surrounding the capital, Moscow. The system,
which is named Prometey (Russian for Prometheus), as well as Triumfator-M, is
expected to replace the current A-135 anti-ballistic missile system deployed
around Moscow, as well as supplement the long-range S-400 Triumf
surface-to-air missile (SAM) system in Russian Aerospace Forces service.

The S-500 anti-aircraft missile system has no analogues in the world and is
designed to defeat the entire spectrum of existing and promising aerospace
attack weapons of a potential enemy in the entire range of altitudes and
speeds.

Components of the S-500 system

The S-500 has been designed from the outset to counter a wide range of aerial threats, including ballistic missiles, as well as manned aircraft, and cruise missiles reports Thomas Newdick of TheDrive. Like many high-end Russian air defence systems, the S-500 can be configured to fire a range of different missiles, to tackle threats of various kinds and at different ranges and elevations. With that in mind, it’s not currently clear if the latest test described involved one of the 77N6 series of missiles, with hit-to-kill warheads, or a 40N6 missile, a type that is also intended to be fired by the earlier S-400 system.

The reported S-500 long-range test would definitely be a significant milestone in the program. While the S-500 has clearly suffered from delays, if its full potential can be realized, this ambitious program could set in motion an important overhaul of Russia’s ground-based air defence capabilities, further extending its existing A2/AD zones.

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