Learn about Russia’s new flagship missile system

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After years of anticipation, Russia’s next-generation S-500 missile defense system is put into service.

“The state trials have just ended and the first supplies of this complex have started,” said Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov. Recount journalists. “This is not yet the full range as required by the Almaz-Antey Concern. The configurations of the complex have been discussed. Borisov did not develop further and his somewhat fuzzy statement did not become clearer when ‘It is interpreted in its original Russian. The implication seems to be that some components are missing from the handful of S-500 units currently delivered to the Russian armed forces. These may be essential components without which the system will not function. not as expected or additional loading options such as different types of interceptor missiles. Borisov’s statement potentially suggests some sort of soft launch for the new missile system, although details remain unclear at the time of writing.

The S-500 “Triumfator-M” is Russia’s new flagship missile system, promising overall performance improvements over the country’s current S-400 Triumf. With four radar vehicles per battery, the S-500 would have an effective operating range of six hundred kilometers against ballistic missile threats and five hundred kilometers for area defense. The system is believed to be capable of detecting ballistic missiles at a range of up to two thousand kilometers and can track up to ten ballistic missiles flying at speeds of around seven kilometers per second. Armed with the allegedly hypersonic new family of 77N6 interceptor missiles, the S-500 is said to be capable of intercepting hypersonic cruise missiles and intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as other aerial objects flying at speeds above Mach five. It is widely reported that a naval variant of the S-500 will be featured on Russia’s next Lider-class destroyer, Project 23560.

Originally slated for completion in 2012, the S-500 project has faced a long succession of delays over the past decade. The cause of these delays has never been clearly established, as the history of the development of the system is kept secret by Moscow. The first ten units entered series production earlier in 2021, with Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko announcing in December 2020 that the S-500 would be in service by the end of 2021.

Although it is considered the successor to the S-400, there is no indication that the S-500 will be mass-produced in sufficient numbers to largely replace its predecessor anytime soon. The S-500 is not intended to replace, but to complement, the S-400. While there is some overlap in roles between the two systems, the S-500 nonetheless fills a unique niche against advanced threats such as hypersonic missiles and drones, as well as next-generation stealth fighters. The S-500 will serve alongside older, lower performing systems like the S-400 and S-300 to form an additional layer on top of Russia’s staggered missile defense network, delivering what Moscow sees as capabilities. unprecedented against the latest and most dangerous threats. .

Mark Episkopos is a national security reporter for the National interest.

Image: Wikimedia Commons


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