What is the strength of world’s strongest air defence missile system?

On July 20, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced for the first time a test video of the S-500 “Prometheus” air defence missile system using the supporting 77N6-N air defence missile to strike an air target. This is furthermore the mysterious S-500 air defence missile. The first appearance of the system in front of the world.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the national test of the S-500 air defence missile system is nearing completion, and troops will soon be equipped. It is said that the system will be equipped with the first air defence group army under the combat sequence of the Russian Air and Space Army air and space defence forces, together with the famous A-235 “Tudor River”, to protect the air defence security of the Russian capital Moscow.

The origin of the S-500

Before the original S-500 air defence missile system was made public, Ivan once mentioned it. At that time, we pointed out that the S-500 air defence missile system, like the famous S-400 system, is a famous diamond- Antai Group’s works, but the former is not a simple upgrade of the latter. In terms of the source of the system, it is more like a “reinvented” type of upgrade implemented by the Soviet Army’s air defence rocket unit S-300V series air defence missile system after it was upgraded to S-300V4.

S-400 missile defence system
S-400 missile defence system

The analysis from the launch video of the S-500 air defence missile announced by Russia this time proves this to a certain extent. Although the S-500 air defence missile uses the 51P6E2 all-terrain launch vehicle which is similar to the S-400 air defence missile system, it is similar to the S-300V series in terms of the shape of its main pre-packaged launching tube and the shape of the out-of-tube missile. The 9M82/83 series of air defence missiles used by the air defence missiles are simply honey-like, which confirms the technical inheritance relationship of the S-500 system, 77N6-N missile, S-300V air defence missile system, and 9M82/83 series missile from the side.

98R6E Abakan non-strategic ballistic missile defence system
98R6E Abakan non-strategic ballistic missile defence system

At the same time, Ivan also noticed that the S-500 air defence missile system is the same as the “Abakan” terminal mid-low-altitude anti-missile system that Russia exhibited at the “Army-2020” exhibition last year, with a very special number and code name. In the 51P6E2 all-terrain launch vehicle, the shape of the missile body is also very similar. This seems to confirm from the side another conjecture made by Big Ivan last year. The “Abakan” system is likely to be a “subsystem” especially used for foreign trade that the S-300V4 or even the S-500 system was sold out and sold separately. It is a low- and medium-altitude defence mission to the end of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles.

S-500 performance

However, the S-500 system is a deeply improved version of the S-300V4, or there is a brother called “Abakan” used in foreign trade. For us, the most important thing is of course its system composition and main techniques and tactics. performance.

S-500 missile system
S-500 missile system

Let us first talk about the system composition of S-500. Like S-400, the S-500 “Prometheus” system is also divided into three modules: “Situational Awareness”, “Fire Strike” and “Command Control”:

S-500 Situational Awareness Module

Let’s talk about the situational awareness module first. According to the information released by Russia, the regiment-level situational awareness system of the S-500 air defence missile system is in charge of a large 91N6A “Big Bird-M” long-range warning radar. The air target situation range can reach about 500 to 600 kilometres, and it can sense the situation in the distance at the theatre level.


As a tactical unit, the battalion-level situational awareness module is in charge of a 96L6-TsP “Cheeseboard-M” radar. This type of radar is called the so-called “full-level radar” and is also the battalion-level radar of the S-400 system. . However, compared with the 96L6 used in the S-400 system, a “TsP” suffix has been added, which means that it is a technically improved type with system upgrades and performance that has greatly changed from the original version. This radar is configured at the battalion level. It is a near-side situational awareness radar, which is responsible for medium and short-range detection tasks.

S-500’s Firepower Strike Module

Let’s talk about the fire strike module of the S-500 system, and the battalion-level fire control radar of the S-400 air defence missile system has only one 92N6 radar that is responsible for fire control tasks. The S-500 air defence missile system is equipped with two completely different sets. Fire control radar: One is the 76T6 fire control radar used to attack flying targets in the atmosphere, and the other is the 77T6 fire control radar used to strike short-range ballistic missiles. The two fire control radars are designed to strike different types of targets. In addition to specialization, it also clearly shows that the S-500 air defence missile system is a “universal” air defence missile system.

As for the equipped interceptor, the S-500 air defence missile system is said to be equipped with three types of the interceptor, namely 40N6M interceptor, 77N6-N interceptor and 77N6-N1 interceptor. There are even more S-400 air defence missile systems.

S-500 interceptor missiles
S-500 interceptor missiles

Among the three types of interceptors, the 40N6M interceptor is a follow-up improvement of the 40N6 interceptor used by the S-400 air defence missile system. When the 40N6 is said to have reached 400 kilometres away from its kill zone, it is It is conceivable how far the kill zone can be reached by the improved 40N6M. Of course, from the perspective of mission performance, it is estimated that the 40N6M missile will not be used to strike tactical aircraft targets, but will be used to strike large strategic aircraft targets such as strategic bombers and strategic reconnaissance aircraft. The 77N6-N interceptor is A brand-new interceptor bomb that is also the main type of interceptor bomb in the S-500 system. It is estimated that this type of interceptor bomb was tested this time.


From the appearance point of view, the 77N6-N and S-300V4 air defence systems that used 9M82DM interceptor missiles are somewhat similar. They also use a two-stage rocket engine design. The first stage rocket engine may use dual-component propellants, Extremely high, the missile accelerates extremely fast, and can perform anti-missile interception missions well. Of course, the performance of this type of interceptor is still in the fog. Russia claims that it can intercept targets 400 or even 600 kilometres away and speeds above Mach 10, without knowing the conditions for the realization of these data. It is almost meaningless. Big Ivan believes that the performance positioning of the 77N6-N missile is estimated to be slightly better than the US PAC-3MSE.

9M82 interceptor missile
9M82 interceptor missile

The most amazing thing about the S-500 air defence missile system is its 77N6-N1 air defence missile. Judging from the number, the missile should be a further improvement or a subtype of 77N6-N, but there is currently no such missile. Models of anti-aircraft missiles or photos of live ammunition and even pre-packaged launch tubes appeared. According to information released by the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Ordnance Industry Group, the 77N6-N1 air defence missile has “ultra-long-range” and “ultra-high altitude” anti-missile interception capabilities. It is said that the missile can shoot down “reconnaissance satellites flying in low orbit.”

The two interceptor bombs of the S-500 are larger than the
The two interceptor bombs of the S-500 are larger than the “Zircon”

If this is true, then this means that the 77N6-N1 air defence missile has surpassed the performance of the US Army’s THAAD system, reached the performance of the US Army’s THAAD-ER and GBI interceptor bombs, and also surpassed the US Navy’s performance. For the Russian side, the SM-3 BlockIIA interceptor missiles equipped to the air defence ships seem to have surpassed the performance of the 51T6 and 53T6 interceptor bombs equipped with the previous generation of the Russian A-135 “Amur” air defence system. , And both of these interceptor bombs are large and extremely heavy land-based interceptor bombs.

THAAD “THAAD” air defence system of US
THAAD “THAAD” air defence system of US

Therefore, Ivan thinks that the performance of the 77N6-N1 is too magical. It is totally difficult to say that it does have two brushes, or that the Russian side is habitually blowing water, and can only wait for it to pop out before taking a look.

S-500’s accusation module

Finally, it is the command module of the S-500 air defence missile system, which is completely different from the S-300 and S-400 air defence missile systems. Since the S-500 system is a strategic-level anti-missile interception and critical air defence system, its command and control module is very important, because it needs to be connected to the Russian military’s automated air defence system and has a very high command and control authority.

Therefore, the 85Zh6-2 regiment-level command module and 55K6 battalion-level command module equipped with the S-500 air defence system may be compatible with Russian anti-missile radars such as “Voronezh-DM” and “Darial”. The network is coordinated, and the latter may be able to directly receive the guidance signal of the Russian “Don-2U” anti-missile system fire control radar, which has very powerful performance.

Overall evaluation of S-500

After analyzing the composition and basic technical and tactical performance of the S-500 air defence missile system, Da Yiwan’s evaluation of this type of system is very high. In the eyes of the Great Ivan, the Russians have deeply grasped the essence of “strategic air defence”, that is, the defence of “strategic bombers, strategic reconnaissance aircraft, various types of ballistic missiles and satellites” can be called “strategic”. “Air defence”, and the S-500 air defence missile system itself is a product of the “strategic air defence” mission.

This research and development of the system according to the task level, and a set of systems covering almost all strategic air defence mission combat objectives, instead of several discrete systems like the US military, covering different firepower radii, reflects The United States and Russia have different ideas on equipment research and development, but Ivan the Great believes that Russia’s ideas are relatively efficient. Instead, the US military has a little bit of Soviet-era “special aircraft dedicated to the development of ballistic missile defence systems.” With the taste of “one section for each pipe”, three sets of anti-missile equipment with a range of interconnection and a fire control system that are difficult to use have been created.

Development and improvement

Of course, judging from the current technical performance of the S-500 air defence missile system, the system still has a lot of room for development and improvement:

One is that the entire system is still not compact enough. The regiment and battalion levels are equipped with two sets of remote and near warning radar systems. Let’s not talk about it. After all, this is a Soviet “practice”, but the battalion level is equipped as a basic tactical unit. Two sets of different fire control radars were used for air defence in the atmosphere and anti-missile defence outside the atmosphere. This shows some of the defects in Russia’s system integration. These two radars can theoretically be replaced by a powerful X-band active phased array radar, and even the THAAD system from situational awareness to fire control is fully covered by AN/TPY-2 radar. For other countries with a deep accumulation in the field of active phased array radars, if you want to build a general-purpose strategic air defence system similar to the S-500, you can use one radar to replace the three S-500 radars…

The second is that the S-500 air defence system still has not changed the impression of “silly, big and clumsy.” As we mentioned before, the S-300V4 air defence system’s 9M82 interceptor bombs, A-35 “Adan River” and A-135 “Amur” The reason why the “River” system is so stupid and clumsy is entirely that the Russian army can’t handle the KKV interceptor and has to use a large nuclear warhead or a 200-kilogram kill blasting warhead. This has led to an unusually huge volume of the entire interceptor. For example, the Russian 9M82 interceptor has a launch mass of more than 2,000 kilograms, but its performance is not as good as that of PAC-3MSE. The current visual launch quality of the 77N6-N interceptor will also not be less than 2000. Kilogram, the performance is only slightly better than PAC-3MSE, and PAC-3MSE is only a 328 kg interceptor. If other countries are interested in developing equipment similar to the S-500, they can use the KKV interceptor warhead to replace the inefficient fragmentation blasting warhead, thereby improving the performance of the S-500 equipment by a large margin.

In short, although the S-500 is still hidden in the fog so far, as it has more and more videos and photos, the relevant information is gradually improving, let us wait and see and look forward to the official “Prometheus” The day when the fog is uncovered.

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