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Russian S-500 Missile Defence System To Be Deployed by 2021- Could Make Patriot, THAAD, F-35s Obsolete?

Russia will deploy Prometheus S-500 missile defence system or otherwise known as 55R6M ‘‘Triumfator-M’’ to its military arsenal by 2021. The latest Russian S-500 surface to air (SAM) missile aka air defence system is being developed by Almaz Antey, a state contractor.

The S-500 is a supplement to the S-400 and a replacement for A-135 anti-ballistic missile and could render the American missile systems such as the Patriot and THAAD as well as fifth-generation stealth fighters obsolete.

Although the delivery dates of the game-changing S-500s have been pushed forward a couple of times, Russian Deputy Defence Minister, Alexei Krivoruchko, recently confirmed that the Russian army will get the delivery within a year. The Russians army is currently using the S-400 and with the arrival of S-500 hopes to further strengthen its defensive capabilities.

The S-400 was introduced into service in 2007 and is believed to be one of the most advanced systems in the world. It has proved to be popular amongst Russia’s key allies such as India and Turkey due to its economical costs and prooven capabilities.

Russia’s S-400 costs approximately $500 million, whereas a Patriot Pac-2 battery costs $1 billion and a THAAD battery rings in at about $3 billion, according to people with first-hand knowledge of a U.S. intelligence assessment.

New Delhi has ordered the formidable S-400 from Moscow in a deal expected to be around $5.37 billion. The delivery of the missile systems is scheduled for 2021 as India looks to bolster its air defence capabilities.

S-500 vs S-400 Missile Defence Systems

Russia has been secretive of the details of the S-500 but there have a few leaked reports on the internet. According to reports, the development of the S-500 started in 2009 and the first prototype was completed in 2012.

The Russian military conducted the world’s longest surface-to-air missile test in 2018, The test successfully struck a target 299 miles away, which the U.S. assessed is 50 miles further than any known test according to CNBC reports.

The S-500 is speculated to be a completely new design compared to the S-400 and will use a new computer system, radar and even missiles, thus making it superior to the popular S-400.

The Prometheus S-500 is expected to have an extended range of up to 600 km (an improvement of 200km over the S-400) and simultaneously engage up to 10 targets. The radar range is also more than that of the S-400 and the system will have the potential to destroy hypersonic and ballistic targets with interceptors operating at an altitude higher than 185km.

The S-500s will have a response time of about 3- 4 seconds, which is considerably shorter than the S-400 which takes 9-10 seconds. The missiles will be carried by heavy-duty trucks thus adding the advantage of mobility to the latest addition to the armed forces. The Prometheus will use 2 new types of missile, the 77N6-N and 77N6-N1, the first-ever Russian missiles with inert warheads, capable of destroying nuclear warheads by force of impact.

Russian S-500 Missile Defence Systems – The Game Changer?

Russian media and military experts believe that Triumfator-M will be the first missile defence system able to precisely target and neutralize lower orbit satellites as well as fifth-generation stealth fighters like the F-35. This is a major threat to the US and her allies since they consider the F-35 the most advanced fighter jet in the world.

In comparison to the American Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system, Almaz Antey believes that the  Russian missile delivery system is decades ahead of its American counterpart. “The S-500 is a blow against American prestige,” Almaz-Antey head engineer Pavel Sozinov told Russian media.

“Our system neutralizes American offensive weapons, and surpasses all of America’s much-hyped anti-air and anti-missile systems,” he added.

The addition of S-500 anti-aircraft and anti-ballistic missile defence systems could prove to be a big boost for the Russian defence industry. Russia is the second biggest exporter of arms in the world and generates substantial revenue from the same.

In the S-500s, Moscow has a weapons system which is not just unparalleled but puts most modern jets such as American F-35 at risk. Experts speaking to EurAsian Times believe that the missile system could draw buyers away from the United States and help elevate the stagnant Russian economy.

The S-500 could also be used as diplomatic leverage to win the support of countries that at the moment support sanctions on Russia.

Penned By – Armaan Srivastava, Edited By Xavier Francis

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