Russia has developed a new S-550 anti-aircraft missile system, said Russian Defense Sergey Shoygu at a conference call with the leadership of the Russian armed forces.
“The Minister of Defense recalled that from November 1 to November 3, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief [Putin] held in Sochi another series of meetings with the leadership of the Defense Ministry and enterprises of the military-industrial complex. Measures to adequately respond to changes in the situation near the Russian borders were discussed. Much attention was paid to improving the country’s aerospace defense system. The head of state made a special emphasis on the importance of advanced development of domestic air defense missile systems, deliveries to the armed forces of S-350, S-500, S-550 systems, ” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement following the meeting.
There were no previous reports about the existence in Russia of a S-550 air defense system. The only project that bore such a name was developed at the end of the existence of the USSR, in the 1980s. It provided for the creation of a mobile missile defense system that could intercept, among other things, ballistic missiles. In 1988, work on the system stopped. It is not known whether this closed project has anything to do with the new system mentioned by the defense minister.
Military expert, director of the Center for Analysis of the World Arms Trade Igor Korotchenko confirmed to RBC that the Russian Defense Ministry had not previously reported about the S-550 system.
“We know that the S-500 is a strategic missile defense system that is capable of intercepting ballistic missiles, intercontinental class, and destroy targets in near space. At the same time, the anti-aircraft missiles that used by the S-500 can destroy absolutely any target, from a drone to targets in space. There is no clearer explanation what is S-550. Obviously, we must assume that this is some version, characterized by an additional set of combat characteristics compared to the base S-500 . Modernized for specific tasks or a range of targets, it is a system, which is created on the basis of the S-500, ” the expert believes.
The S-350 and S-500 systems are already in service with the Russian army. S-350 Vityaz is expected to replace the S-300 air defense system of several modifications and Buk systems. This is a medium-range air defense system, the development of which was first reported in 2007. Its self-propelled launcher is equipped with 12 missiles. The maximum radius of destruction is 60 km, the maximum height is 30 km. The first S-350 systems were delivered to the Russian Army in February 2020.
S-500 Prometheus is a universal system of long-range and high-altitude interception, capable of intercepting ballistic, cruise missiles, as well as aerodynamic targets (aircraft). The radius of destruction of the S-500 is about 600 km. Its deliveries to the troops began several months ago. “State tests have just been completed, and the first deliveries of this system have begun,” said Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov on September 16.