S-500 to fire latest guided missiles to defend Moscow and Central industrial region
A brigade set of S-500 Prometheus air defense missile launchers has been supplied to the 1st special designation army of the Russian Aerospace Forces that defend Moscow and the Central industrial region, a source close to the Defense Ministry told TASS. The area has been defended by S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) and A-135 missile defense, TASS military writer Dmitry Litovkin said. S-500 complements them. The Defense Ministry said on July 20, 2021, that S-500 had completed test launches at a ballistic speed target at Kapustin Yar range. The trials confirmed the declared characteristics and high reliability of the hardware.
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S-500 air defense missile system (Picture source: Russian MoD)
Little is known about S-500. Its acceptance into service was announced by Yuri Borisov who was deputy defense minister at the time. He said a global air and missile defense system was being created in Russia. Almaz-Antey Company disclosed S-500 concept in its calendar. In 2021, the Defense Ministry posted a video of S-500 trials. Experts said the undercarriage radically differed from what Almaz-Antey showed. The calendar featured MZKT-792911 prime mover of the Minsk Automobile Works with a characteristic cabin and two transportation-launch containers with missiles. The video of the Defense Ministry showed a five-axis prime mover of the Bryansk Automobile Works. The enterprise joined Almaz-Antey several years ago and replaced imports from the closest ally Belarus.
Russia has created a single information space for the missile attack early warning system. Voronezh radars are its backbone. They are on duty in Leningrad, Kaliningrad, Irkutsk, Orenburg, Altai, Krasnodar, and Krasnoyarsk regions. Three Voronezh radars were launched at a time in Orsk, Barnaul, and Yeniseisk several years ago. They created a total radar aerospace field from southwestern Russia to the Pacific Ocean. The radar in Yeniseisk can monitor all ballistic missile launches and the flight trajectory of space objects of the size of a tennis ball between Greenland and Japan. It can detect and track 500 targets at a distance of 6 thousand kilometers.
The targets will be downed at shorter distances and S-500 was designed for that. Foreign experts believe S-500 is specifically effective against stealth aircraft, including F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II fighter jets and B-2A Spirit strategic bombers. However, the available characteristics of the system show that fighting stealth targets is not the main mission. S-500 is a more global system than S-300 and S-400.
The major distance of guided antiaircraft missiles of S-500 makes it an ideal weapon against the biggest and maximum stealth targets. AWACS, electronic warfare and radio-technical reconnaissance aircraft will have to operate outside S-500 destruction radius.
US experts believe S-500 will be armed with antimissiles with an active radar homing warhead. It will make S-500 similar to US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. S-500 can be also armed with 40N6M missiles with a range of 600 km and 77N6-N and 77N6-N1 antimissiles. They will use kinetic energy for destruction. It means the missile will destroy the target upon contact rather than by a highly explosive fragmentation warhead that explodes close to the target and destroys it by a huge number of destructive elements. 77N6 flies at a speed of 5-7 km/sec and can intercept speed targets, including reentry vehicles of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
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