CNBC has just announced, citing an anonymous military source, that Russia quietly conducted the world’s longest anti-air missile system test, destroying mock enemy targets at record range.
If and when this missile system becomes deployed, it could be a gamechanger for the Russian military, with increased area denial capabilities in Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East - that will undoubtedly frighten Washington.
Futuristic drawing of the S-500 air defense missile system. (Source: Almaz-Antey)
The source with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence regarding the S-500 Prometey, also known as 55R6M “Triumfator-M,” a surface-to-air missile/anti-ballistic missile system intended to replace the A-135 missile system and supplement the S-400, said the missile test struck a target 299 miles away — 50 miles further than the existing S-400 system.
Components of the S-500 system
Moscow claims the S-500 is a new-generation surface-to-air missile system and has the capability of “intercepting hypersonic missiles, drones and aircraft as well as stealth warplanes like the F-22 and the F-35. The S-500 system would expand the Kremlin’s capabilities to engage multiple targets with precision strikes,” said CNBC.
Russia’s 2016 S-400 air defense system range in Europe, the Middle East, and Russia.
Besides ballistic and hypersonic missiles, Moscow also claims the S-500 has a range capable of intercepting low-orbit satellites, space weapons launched from hypersonic aircraft, and hypersonic orbital platforms.
However, the anonymous military source neglected to provide CNBC with specific knowledge of timing and location of the test.
The video below is of a test of the S-400 anti-ballistic missile system
Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Almaz-Antey, the weapon’s designer, had been alerted to prepare the S-500 missile systems for mass production.
“One of the key tasks is to improve anti-precision warfare means. It is necessary to develop and build up technological groundwork in the area of air defense, to continue modernization of Pantsir systems, to finish the development and preparations for mass production of the S-500 newest systems capable of hitting targets at super-high altitudes, including near-the-earth space,” Putin said at a meeting with Russia’s top brass and executives of defense-sector enterprises.
Although neither Putin nor the weapon designer have yet made any official statements about the tests, it seems as production for the missile system is about to ramp up for the 2020 deployment date. Meanwhile, with the longest surface-to-air missile range in the world, coupled with a claim that it can destroy American stealth fighters and hypersonics, the S-500 missile system has undoubtedly shocked Washington. What will Trump’s response be? Well, of course, more defense spending until the country goes bankrupt.