The S-500 Prometey (Russian: C-500 Прометей, lit. ‘Prometheus’), also known as 55R6M “Triumfator-M”, is a Russian surface-to-air missile/anti-ballistic missile system intended to replace the A-135 missile system currently in use, and supplement the S-400. The S-500 was developed by the Almaz-Antey Air Defence Concern. Initially planned to be in production by 2014, finally first delivered in 2021. With its characteristics, according to Pravda Report, it is unrivaled by any other similar system in the world, being the first in a new class of space-defense weapons. Also according to Pravda Report, it shares with the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system the trait that it will be integrated into a single network of aerospace defense assets.
Although sharing a similar designation with the S-500U project of the 1960s, the relationship between the two remains unclear. The S-500U multichannel anti-aircraft 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 Defence 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.
In 2009, the system was in 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 units should be in serial production by 2014. Two production plants to produce the S-500 were to be built by 2013, with first deliveries then scheduled for 2015 or 2017. According to the original plans, ten S-500 battalions were to be purchased for the Russian Aerospace Defense (VKO) under the State Armament Programme 2020 (GPV-2020).
The S-500s will work in parallel with the S-400s and are planned to together replace the S-300 missile systems. The first units are planned to be deployed around Moscow and the country’s central area. A naval version is a likely armament for the new Lider-class destroyer, which is to enter service after 2020.
CEO of Rostec Corporation Sergey Chemezov declared the beginning of S-500 production on 30 June 2019. Despite that, serial production of the first 10 systems (ordered in late 2020) only began in 2021.
In May 2018, Russia conducted the longest range surface-to-air missile test to date with the S-500. According to reports citing unnamed sources familiar with U.S. intelligence on the program, the S-500 was able to hit a target 482 km (300 mi) away, which is 80 km further than the previous record.
On 4 June 2019, the Russian Ministry of Defense posted a video showing the successful launch of a new anti-ballistic missile system in the form of a long-range surface-to-air missile. Though the nature of the air defense system which was being tested was not mentioned it has been widely speculated to have been a test of the S-500 Prometheus long-range surface to air missile system.
The S-500 radar was tested in late 2019.
In June 2021, S-500 was rumored to have been tested at Khmeimim airbase, Syria, supposedly receiving a lock on an F-35 fighter.
As of July 2021, the Russian MOD has released the first public footage of a live-fire test of the new S-500 anti-ballistic missile system at Kapustin Yar.
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, for air defense against Airborne Early Warning and Control, and for jamming aircraft. With a planned range of 600 km (370 mi) for anti-ballistic missile (ABM) and 500 km (310 mi) for air defense, the S-500 would be able to detect and simultaneously engage up to 10 ballistic hypersonic targets flying at a speed of 5 kilometers 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 higher than Mach 5, as well as spacecraft. The altitude of a target engaged can be as high as 180–200 km (110–120 mi). It is effective against ballistic missiles with a launch range of 3,500 km (2,200 mi), the radar reaches a radius of 3,000 km (1,300 km for the EPR 0,1 square meter). Other targets it has been announced to defend against include: unmanned aerial vehicles, low Earth orbit satellites, and space weapons launched from hypersonic aircraft, drones, and hypersonic orbital platforms.
The system will be highly mobile and will have rapid deployability. Experts believe that the system’s capabilities can affect enemy intercontinental ballistic missiles at the middle and end portions of the flight, 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. It is to have a response time of less than 4 seconds (Compared to the S-400’s less than 10).
The S-500 will consist of:
- 77P6 launch vehicle, based on the BAZ-69096 10×10 truck
- 55K6MA and 85Zh6-2 command posts, based on BAZ-69092-12 6×6
- 91N6A(M) acquisition and battle management radar, a modification of the 91N6 (Big Bird) towed by the BAZ-6403.01 8×8 tractor
- 96L6-TsP acquisition radar, an upgraded version of the 96L6 (Cheese Board) on BAZ-69096 10×10
- 76T6 multimode engagement radar on BAZ-6909-022 8×8
- 77T6 ABM engagement radar on BAZ-69096 10×10
The type of missiles used, especially for the long-range ABM/ATBM role, has not been disclosed yet. It is likely to be a derivative of the SA-12B Giant two-stage ATBM since the 77P6 launch vehicle is originally meant to carry 2 containers for the SA-12B. The other missiles, to be used against classical airborne targets, are likely to be the same as in the S-400 system.
|Type||Mobile surface-to-air missile|
|Place of origin||Russia|
|In service||September 16th, 2021|
|600 km (370 mi)|
Following the S-400 deal signed in October 2017, Turkey has also expressed interest in the acquisition of the S-500 missile system. According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey is ready to consider possible S-500 purchases in the future.
On September 2021 Deputy PM of Russia Yuri Borisov said that India could be a prospective S 500 customer.
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