Russian President Putin has recently announced that the Russian military is in the process of deploying the S-500, the most capable and the most powerful air-defense system in the world. The S-500 is a hypersonic anti-aircraft and anti-ballistic missile defence system.
The Russian President made the announcement of deploying the S-500 during an address to the graduates of military colleges in Moscow as he described Russia’s plans for fielding advanced weapon systems, which he said “will determine the combat capabilities of the army and the navy for years and decades to come”.
Putin also said that the S-500 long-range missile system, which is designed to intercept aircraft and missiles and also have some anti-satellite capabilities, had no equal in the world.
The S-500 is a new russian hypersonic surface-to-air missile/anti-ballistic missile system which is supposed 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.
The S-500 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 kilometres per second (3.1 mi/s) to a limit of 7 km/s (4.3 mi/s).
It also aims at destroying hypersonic cruise missiles and other aerial targets at speeds of 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, space weapons launched from hypersonic aircraft, and hypersonic orbital platforms.
The first S-500 regiment went on combat duty in Moscow on 13 October 2021. Russia has built approximately 32 units of this advanced missile defense system. Per Unit Cost of the S-500 is $600 million.
Almaz-Antey head Yan Novikov said the company expected the S-500 to become the backbone of Russia’s anti-air capabilities. He confirmed back in April that the system had gone into serial production.