Russia’s S-500 air defense system has been in the works for several years. Now, Russian state-owned news agency TASS reports that the first regiment has been delivered.
Full deployment of the S-500, the successor to the S-400 Triumph air defense system, was previously planned for 2025.
“The first regiment of the S-500 air defense systems has entered service with a unit, whose combat duty is to guard and defend the airspace above the capital of the country,” TASS reported, citing “a source close to the Russian Defense Ministry.”
The second regiment, the report said, will be delivered to Russian troops in the first half of 2022.
The system was produced by Almaz-Antey Concern. According to TASS, the system is “designed to defeat all possible means of an air and space attack by a potential enemy across the entire range of heights and speeds.”
The War Zone’s Thomas Newdick reported on what to expect from the S-500 in a July 2021 story.
“The S-500 anti-aircraft missile system has no analogs in the world and is designed to defeat the entire spectrum of existing and promising aerospace attack weapons of a potential enemy in the entire range of altitudes and speeds,” the Russian defense ministry said at the time.
“Like many high-end Russian air defense systems, the S-500 can be configured to fire a range of different missiles, to tackle threats of various kinds and at different ranges and elevations,” The War Zone reported. “With that in mind, it’s not currently clear if the latest test described involved one of the 77N6 series of missiles, with hit-to-kill warheads, or a 40N6 missile, a type that is also intended to be fired by the earlier S-400 system.”
The site also looked at the history of the system.
“The S-500’s active development phase had begun by 2009, but since then the program has suffered some significant delays, at least when compared to the confident predictions of series production by 2012,” the article said. “In the years since then, service entry dates have also slipped with some regularity.”
The War Zone also speculated that Russia could deploy the system in foreign countries allied with Russia, such as Syria. It’s also possible that there could be a naval version of the system.
“From a Russian perspective, the S-500’s advanced capabilities can’t come soon enough,” The War Zone wrote. “After all, the United States is now rapidly progressing plans to modernize all three legs of its nuclear triad, as well as develop new strategic and theater weapons delivery systems, including cruise missiles, revamped ballistic missiles, and rocket artillery.”
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.