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Russia Teases New S-550 Missile System

Russia is developing an advanced, never-before-seen S-550 missile system, the Defense Ministry announced Tuesday.

Reports suggested the model is a revival of a late Soviet project shuttered in a deal with the United States.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the orders came from President Vladimir Putin at a recent meeting with military top brass.

“The head of state placed special emphasis on the importance of advancing the development of domestic air and missile defense systems, and the supply of S-350, S-500 and S-550 to the Armed Forces,” Shoigu said at a Defense Ministry conference as footage of existing systems played on a screen behind him.

Shoigu did not provide any details on the newly mentioned S-550 missile system.

According to the state-run TASS news agency, the Soviet Union had been developing S-550 “high-mobility terminal air defense system” in 1981-1988. That project, along with many others, was reportedly scrapped as part of Soviet-U.S. arms control agreements. 

It was not immediately clear if the newly announced S-550 is related to the Soviet development.

Shoigu’s announcement comes after the Russian military for the first time showed footage of a live fire test of the S-550’s predecessor S-500, an intended replacement for S-300 and a supplement to the advanced S-400 systems, in July.

Reports have said that the S-500 carried out the world’s longest surface-to-air missile system test in 2018. 

Shoigu’s former deputy and current Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov said in September that the Armed Forces have started taking delivery of the S-500, though it was thought to be scheduled for delivery in 2025.

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