The S-500 "Prometey" (55R6M "Triumfator-M") anti-aircraft missile system is the latest long-range air-defense standard available from Russian military industry. Designed by defense player Almaz-Antey, the mobile Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) system boasts an operational range between 300 and 400 miles, capable of engaging a wider variety of airborne threats at extreme ranges. It is a complementary design to the existing, in-service S-400 "Triumf" (SA-21 "Growler") wheeled, long-range weapon systems currently in circulation with Russian allies (namely China and Turkey) and the intended successor to the older S-300 (SA-10 "Grumble") systems of the late-Cold War period.
Work on the new model was noted in the latter half of the 2000s with a tentatively scheduled production phase to begin in 2014. Deliveries were intended for 2017. However, delays in the complex missile program ultimately pushed service entry into the following decade. Beyond the inherent capability to search, track, and engage aircraft/aerial targets at range, the S-500 system is also given a capability against ballistic missiles and is said to be able to counter hypersonic weapons as well.
The S-500 designation covers the complete weapons system that involves various components beyond the wheeled missile carrier and includes the critical radar units. The carrier vehicle is the 77P6 10x10 truck and mounts four of the large missiles over its rear section. Accompanying this are the 55K6MA and 85Zh6-2 Command Post (CP) sections as well as the 91N6A(M) Battle Management Radar (BMR) set atop a 8x8 vehicle chassis. Beyond this is the 96L6-TsP acquisition radar unit (atop a 10x10 military truck), the 76T6 multi-mode engagement radar unit (on 8x8 truck), and the 77T6 engagement radar (on 10x10 wheeled truck). Altogether, these components form the potent S-500 kit, providing critical air defense / air deterrence for key installations and areas.
Heading into the middle of 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin himself commented on the near-completion of the years-long S-500 missile program, hinting that service entry is set to begin in either 2021 or 2022. Beyond the mobile, land-based model, the S-500 is also expected to be developed as a navalized, ship-based air defense missile platform for the Russian Navy. This version is to follow.
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