The S-500 is a new generation surface-to-air missile system, designed for intercepting intercontinental ballistic missiles and for defense against Airborne Early Warning and Control, Airborne Warning and Control System, and jamming aircraft. It is not an upgraded version of the S-400. With a planned range of 600 km (373 mi), the S-500 would be able to detect and simultaneously engage up to 10 ballistic supersonic targets flying at a speed of 5 km/s and will have a flight ceiling of 400 km.
In 2009, the system was under development at the design stage at Almaz-Antey, and had been planned to be completed in 2012. In February 2011, it was announced that the first S-500 systems should be in serial production by 2014. Under the State Armament Programme 2020 (GPV-2020), it is planned to purchase 10 S-500 battalions for the Russian Aerospace Defense (VKO).
In 2013, a prototype was unveiled in Moscow and military spokesmen said it worked spectacularly.
The main components of the S-500 will be:
- the launch vehicle 77P6, based on the BAZ-69096 10x10 truck;
- the command posts 55K6MA and 85Zh6-2 on BAZ-69092-12 6x6;
- the acquisition and battle management radar 91N6A(M), a modification of the 91N6 (Big Bird) towed by the BAZ-6403.01 8x8 tractor;
- the 96L6-TsP acquisition radar, an upgraded version of the 96L6 (Cheese Board) on BAZ-69096 10x10;
- the multimode engagement radar 76T6 on BAZ-6909-022 8x8;
- the ABM engagement radar 77T6 on BAZ-69096 10x10;
There is also a version of the system called S-1000, but it is not known what the difference between the two versions is.
Although sharing a similar designation, the relationship between this new S-500 and the S-500U project of the 1960s is unclear. The S-500U multichannel antiaircraft system was a 1968 initiative by the Soviet Air Defence Forces, Soviet Navy, Ministry of the Radio Industry (Ministerstvo Radio Promyshlennosti SSSR), and Ministry of the Shipbuilding Industry to create a unified complex for the National Air Defense Troops, Navy and Ground Troops. Missiles of the S-500U complex were supposed to engage enemy aircraft at a range up to 100 km. The S-500U SAM complex project was rejected by the Soviet Army, which had a requirement to engage not only enemy aircraft, but also short range ballistic missiles. Consequently the S-300 family (SA-10 and SA-12) was developed instead. Russia is developing two plants to produce the S-500 in 2015 (production) but some say the earliest will be 2017 (delivery to units). 5 batteries of S-500 missiles are to be in service by 2020. The S-500s will work with S-400s and will replace S-300 air defense missiles.
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