S-500 (missile system)
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The S-500 Prometey (Прометей) ("Prometheus") is a Russian surface-to-air missile system, currently under development by the Almaz-Antey Air Defence Concern. It is also known as 55R6M "Triumfator-M."
The S-500 is a new generation surface-to-air missile system. It is designed for intercepting and destroying intercontinental ballistic missiles as well as hypersonic cruise missiles and aircraft and for air defense against Airborne Early Warning and Control and jamming aircraft. With a planned range of 600 km (370 mi) for Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) and 400 km (250 mi) for the air defense, the S-500 would be able to detect and simultaneously engage up to 10 ballistic supersonic targets flying at a speed of 5 kilometres per second (3.1 mi/s; 18,000 km/h; 11,000 mph) to a limit of 7 km/s (4.3 mi/s; 25,000 km/h; 16,000 mph). It also aims at destroying hypersonic cruise missiles and other aerial targets at speeds of higher than Mach 5 and as well as spacecraft. The altitude of a target engaged can be from 180–200 km (110–120 mi).
The system will be highly mobile and will have rapid deployability. Experts believe that the systems capabilities can affect enemy intercontinental ballistic missiles at the end and the middle portion, but reports by Almaz-Antey say that the external target designation system (RLS Voronezh-DM and missile defense system A-135 radar Don-2N) will be capable of mid-early flight portion interceptions of enemy ballistic missiles, which is one of the final stages of the S-500 project.
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).
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;
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 (62 mi). 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).
Five batteries of S-500 missiles are planned to be in service by 2020. The S-500s will work with S-400s and will replace S-300 air defense missiles. The Russian military will start deploying S-500 missile systems in 2016, with a total of 10 batteries to be ordered. Development will be completed in 2015, and the system could enter service by 2017. The first units will be deployed around Moscow and the country's center area, with targets it will defend against to include ballistic missiles, hypersonic cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, low-orbit satellites, and space weapons launched from hypersonic aircraft, drones, and hypersonic orbital platforms. A naval version is the likely armament for the new Leader-class air-defense destroyers due to enter service in 2023-25.
As opposed to the S-400, which can handle a maximum of six targets up to a range of 400 km with a 9-10 second response time, the S-500 is capable of simultaneous engaging 10 ballistic missile targets out to 600 km with a 3-4 second response time.
While Russian media has said that S-500 prototypes were “expected to enter service in late 2016 or 2017” to replace the S-300, U.S. observers say they haven’t yet been deployed and it is still in development, and question whether that timeline can be kept. Of particular uncertainty is the deployment of the 77N6 missile giving the S-500 ABM capability; while the U.S. conducted rigorous testing of ABM systems over a long period before fielding effective technology, there is little evidence that the Russians have carried out such testing.
- A–235 anti-ballistic missile system
- S-350E Vityaz
- Voronezh-DM - early-warning radar for Russian Aerospace Defence Forces
- Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GBMD)
- Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) - Next generation surface to air missile being developed by the U.S., Germany, and Italy.
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