S-500 Will Be a Much More Versatile System Than THAAD

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



The deputy CEO of the aerospace defense concern “Almaz-Antey” on foreign economic activity Vyacheslav Dzirkaln stated that work on the development and creation of the latest S-500 anti-aircraft missile system go according to the approved schedule.

S-500 will be transferred to the Russian Armed Forces in 2020

This means that the existing plan, according to which “Almaz-Antey” can already transfer S-500  to the Russian army for full military-technical tests in 2020, remains in force.

It is noteworthy that this information coincided with the tests of the Pentagon in Alaska of the THAAD anti-missile system, when units of the American Army managed to hit a ballistic missile that travelled 5,000 kilometers from the Hawaiian Islands.

At the moment, analogs of the THAAD systems that the Pentagon already placed in South Korea, aren’t present in the arsenal of the Russian army. The reason for this is that the Americans, owing to known circumstances – first of all the unilateral exit of the US from the agreement on missile defense in 2001, began work on similar military equipment much earlier than Russia.

And in this context such a multipurpose system as the S-500, which will be able to fight against any aerodynamic and ballistic targets, will be a worthy response to the US, especially because it will be sharpened not only for the destruction of ballistic and cruise missiles of the “probable enemy”, but also such objects as space satellites in low orbit.

S-500 will considerably surpass THAAD and S-400

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The military expert Aleksey Leonkov in a conversation with FBA “Economy Today” noted that the S-500 system will significantly surpass THAAD in the base characteristics.

“The fact is that THAAD is first of all an anti-missile defense system, which, in practice, has a kind of restriction on range and height of start-up. And here this system is considerably inferior to the S-500 anti-aircraft missile system – developed by ‘Almaz-Antey’ for the equipment of the Armed force of Russia,” states Leonkov.

Besides this, the perspective S-400 system will add to the domestic S-500 system, which was not so long ago adopted for service by Russia and still has huge potential.

“S-500 will differ to S-400, firstly, in range of interception of air targets. Here, the fighting radius of the S-400 represents about 400 kilometers, while for S-500 this indicator will be considerably farther, although exact data has been kept a secret so far. Secondly, the S-500 system will be equipped with essentially new interceptor missiles,” concludes Leonkov.

The S-500 interceptor missiles will have hypersonic characteristics

According to Aleksey Petrovich, in the development of the interceptor missiles of the S-500 surface-to-air missile system, essentially new characteristics are being laid out, like hypersonic.

As a reminder, Russia in recent years has paid considerable attention to the development of missiles that are capable of achieving hypersonic speeds above mach-5.

Naturally, these same design tendencies exist in other leading world military industrial complexes, that’s why prospective interceptor missiles must have qualities to effectively fight against such aerodynamic targets.

After all, it means that in the future military demands will cardinally change because currently the basic American Tomahawk missile is subsonic, and the latest Russian Kalibr cruise missile is capable of achieving speeds in the range of mach-2 to mach-3.

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“This quality will give to the S-500 interceptor missiles not only the chance to reach the target quicker, but also to shoot down objects that are in the region of the near space,” summarized Leonkov.

Besides this, the S-500 system will “serve” more targets than the S-400, which will allow it to be much more effective in the context of the strategic defense of the territory of Russia.

S-500 will conduct the destruction of targets in an automatic mode

“It is also necessary to pay attention to that circumstance that S-500 will be completely integrated into an automatic control system of air defense, which also significantly increases its fighting potential and will allow all installations of this type to work together in Russia,” stated Leonkov.

It is interesting that the development of the components for S-500 is at the last stage, because now work on the interceptor missile of this surface-to-air missile system is coming to an end.

“However, the main and center-forming S-500 element is not the interceptor missile, but the system of control and detection of targets of this complex. It is especially this system that performs the work on identifying targets in order to have the opportunity to as quick as possible attack air and rocket objects on the most distant approaches,” concludes Leonkov.

All this testifies that the S-500 will destroy air targets, essentially, in an automatic mode, when the chosen target is the carrier of weapons, or the weapon itself, then the type of weapon is defined and its destruction is carried out.

“Moreover, the system itself defines the priority of the destruction of air targets, and further the command of the operator of the S-500 system carries out the start-up. This is helped also by the circumstance that the S-500 batteries will actively interact among themselves, which will allow to carry out an attack on air targets in a combat radius of 360 degrees,” summarises Leonkov.

An important feature of the S-500 will become when missiles of the system will destroy targets by the principle “shoot and forget”, which says that operators won’t need to control the interceptor missiles in manual mode towards the target, as it happens today.

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