Russia’s existing in-service ‘double digit’ Surface to Air Missiles (SAMs), the S-300 (known as the SA-10, -12 and -20 to NATO) and the S-400 Triumf (SA-21) are deadly, long-range missile systems that have dramatically shifted the balance in contested airspace, making the world a more difficult and dangerous place for US and allied military pilots.
Russia is now on the verge of deploying an even more deadly air defence missile system, the Almaz-Antey Air and Space Defence Corporation S-500 Prometei (Prometheus) next-generation surface-to-air missile system, which will provide even more formidable capabilities – against ballistic missiles as well as aircraft and helicopters.
Funding for the acquisition of the S-500 (also known as the 55R6M Triumfator-M) was provided in the 2018-2027 State Armament Programme signed by President Putin in early 2018.
Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu has said that he expects deliveries to begin in 2020, following the recent start of production of vehicles for the system at a new plant in Nizhny Novgorod, and of advanced missiles for the system at another new factory at Kirov.
Russia plans to purchase ten S-500 battalions of S-500s, the first of which will be deployed to protect Moscow and the central region of Russia.
The S-500 is similar in some respects to the Lockheed Martin Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, using similar kinetic hit-to-kill interceptors.
The S-500 is claimed to be the world’s first multi-stage air defense system, able to detect and simultaneously attack up to ten ballistic missile warheads and able to engage targets at altitudes.
by Jon Lake