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Russia completes tests of S-500 air defense system, starts supplying equipment to forces

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russia's S-500 Prometheus anti-aircraft missile system (Photo by Russian Defense Ministry)

Russia has successfully completed tests of its new S-500 air defense missile systems and started supplying the advanced antiaircraft equipment to the country’s armed forces, according to Russian media.

Russia's state-run RIA Novosti news agency cited Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov as saying on Thursday that the tests of the new S-500 Prometheus surface-to-air missile system had been completed and its first batches were beginning to be incorporated into the national armed forces.

“The state tests have just finished and the first deliveries of this system have already begun,” Borisov was quoted as saying when asked at a press conference.

Borisov said the S-500, manufactured by the Almaz-Antey VKO, is designed to “defeat all available and prospective aerospace attack weapons of a potential enemy in the entire range of altitudes and speeds.”

The S-500 has also been described as a space defense system and can intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles, hypersonic cruise missiles and aircraft.

Russia says the antiaircraft missile system, which is expected to have a maximum firing range of 600 kilometers, is the most advanced anti-missile system in the world and is capable of countering attacks from space.

The commander of the Russian Aerospace Force, Colonel General Sergei Surovikin, last year described the S-500 as “the first generation of space defense systems.”

“The characteristics projected in the S-500 air defense system allow destroying, in addition to aerodynamic and ballistic targets, hypersonic weapons of all modalities, even in close space,” Surovikin said.

Russia’s TASS news agency said the system would be able to detect, track and destroy up to ten ballistic supersonic targets simultaneously that fly at speeds of up to seven kilometers per second, in addition to being able to destroy hypersonic missile warheads.

TASS said the S-500’s features significantly outperform the S-400 Triumf and its American competitor, the Patriot Advanced Capability 3.

Russia started testing the system last year and the military has said that the first batch would be deployed around the city of Moscow.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in 2019 that Ankara would also jointly produce S-500 defense systems with Moscow.

NATO member Turkey has bought from Russia the advanced system’s predecessor, S-400, despite protests from the United States that it threatens the alliance’s defenses.

Turkey and Russia finalized an agreement on the delivery of the S-400 missile systems in late 2017.

Capable of engaging targets at a distance of 400 kilometers and at an altitude of up to 30 kilometers, the missile system can destroy aircraft as well as cruise and ballistic missiles.

Turkey and the United States, both of them NATO members, have been at loggerheads over Ankara’s purchase of the Russian systems, which the US alleges are not compatible with the military hardware owned by the other countries of the Western military alliance.

Last December, the United States imposed sanctions on Turkey over its acquisition of the S-400 systems, with Ankara condemning the move as a “grave mistake” that would inevitably harm mutual relations and threatened retaliation.


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