Russia’s advanced S-500 air defense system is capable of destroying hypersonic weapons and satellites in near space, the head of Russia’s air and space forces has said.
The S-500 Prometheus, which Russian defense officials say could enter service as soon as 2020, is touted as being capable of intercepting stealth warplanes. President Vladimir Putin has said that the S-500 is capable of operating in “ultra-high altitudes including near space.”
Sergei Surovikin, the head of Russia’s Aerospace Forces, said this capability will allow the S-500 to destroy low-orbit satellites, as well as hypersonic and space weapons, in addition to its primary targets intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
“The characteristics inherent in the S-500 surface-to-air missile make it possible to destroy... hypersonic weapons of all modifications, including in near space,” Surovikin told the Defense Ministry’s Red Star publication Friday.
“The S-500 can be classified as the first generation of space defense systems, since in the future it will be able to destroy low-orbit satellites and space weapons,” Surovikin said.
The surface-to-air missile was reported to have carried out the world’s longest missile test in 2018.
Russia and the United States have developed hypersonic missiles in recent years as the countries trade blame over arms control treaty violations and attempt to restart nuclear talks.
The S-500 was initially scheduled for delivery in 2025 after preliminary tests in 2020. Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko noted in February that air defense troops tested the S-500 using “new and unparalleled missiles” in 2019.
“We’re confident that the new system will be ready for delivery to the armed forces in 2020,” Krivoruchko told the Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies’ (KRET) monthly magazine at the time.