Russia Tests Its Most Powerful S-500 Missile Defense System; Hits High-Speed Ballistic Target – Ministry

Russia’s new S-500 missile defense system has tested combat firing at a high-speed ballistic target at a training ground in the Astrakhan Region, the defense ministry said on Tuesday.

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“At the Kapustin Yar training ground, the newest S-500 surface-to-air missile system performed test combat firing at a high-speed ballistic target,” the ministry said, adding that the target had been successfully hit.

The tests confirmed the tactical and technical characteristics and high reliability of the Russian weapons, it added.

“After the completion of the full cycle of tests, it is planned to deliver the first S-500 system to the air defense unit in the Moscow Region,” the statement said.

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Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov announced the beginning of state tests of the S-500 system in August 2020.

According to Moscow, the S-500 missile system has no comparison in the world and can intercept an array of current and future weapons at all altitudes and speeds.

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Russia’s S-500 air defense systems are capable of intercepting with a high probability the hypersonic units of the US Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) that is currently under development, a source in the defense had earlier stated.

Popular Mechanics magazine reported that the US army’s new LRHW will allow it to stage a strike on Russia in the event of a conflict. The maximum speed of the warhead is expected to be 17 times higher than the speed of the sound, making it possible to hit targets located at a distance of up to 2,700 kilometers (1,677 miles).

“Russia’s new anti-aircraft missile system S-500 Prometheus is capable of intercepting maneuvering hypersonic aerospace attack vehicles flying at even higher speeds. Therefore, the … LRHW is in the category of targets that S-500 hits with a high probability,” the source said.

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According to the source, “taking into consideration that LRHW warhead will be a poorly maneuvering hypersonic glider, it will not be a problem for S-500 to hit it.” The source also noted that the S-500 has its own mobile radar systems for detecting targets of this class.

According to top Russian military officials that EurAsian Times earlier quoted, the S-500 will not replace the existing systems but will supplement them. The system is expected to support the already vast air defense layers of Russia, which includes S-400, S-300, and a vast inventory of short-medium range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems.