The S-500 Prometheus

The S-500 Prometheus is touted as being capable of intercepting stealth warplanes.

Air defence missile battery: Image for illustration.

S-400 air defence system in Syria

Russian S-500 air defence system (ADS) the future development of the popular S-400 will enter serial production next year following its recent successful test in the “hot and dusty” conditions of Syria.

Dubbed “Prometheus” the S-500 is considered a major advancement of not only the S-400 but also other ADS in the World such as the US Patriot. Its stand-out feature is that it integrates the radar feeds of low and high level defence systems through a single command and control system; tracks, prioritizes and defeats simultaneous threats such as ballistic and cruise missiles, aircraft and drones.

Russian daily, Izvestia reported yesterday quoting MoD sources that the most important elements of the Russian S-500 have been tested in Syria in which certain problems were identified and quickly eliminated.

Citing the reasons for selecting Syria as a location for qualification trials of the S-500, an unnamed source told the Russian daily, “Syria is well suited for such trials – it is always hot there, a lot of dust. In addition, the radar has to work around the clock – the situation in the republic is turbulent and anti-aircraft gunners must constantly maintain a radar field.”

A possible reason for the Syrian test could be the availability of multiple “targets.” Aircraft and drones operated by Syrian, Israeli, US, Turkish and Iranian air forces not to mention drones by terrorist groups operate over the Syrian skies giving the Russians an opportunity to test the S-500 against multiple threats and varying scenarios.

The key differentiator of the S-500 “Prometheus” system over the S-400 is a combat control point (PBU) with an automatic control system (ACS). All information from the radars of not only the S-500, but also third-party radars, anti-aircraft systems and higher air defense command posts are assimilated into the PBU which then operates automatically to select and defeat the threat.

The S-500 includes a radar detection system (RLC), which is responsible for the long-distance search and identification of ballistic and aerodynamic targets.  In addition, a multi-functional “backlight” radar guides anti-aircraft missiles to low flying targets.

A long-range high-altitude radar detector has been developed which allows the command center to most accurately set the coordinates and flight path of ballistic and aerodynamic targets. This radar is capable of finding missiles, aircraft, helicopters and small drones at any altitude. This radar works both for the S-400 and S-500.

“The high-altitude radar and the PBU allow building reliable air defense without external sources of information,” an expert told Izvestia. “A high-altitude detector helps track targets in real-time. The PBU then distributes them between the air defense systems of a particular area.

Serial production of the S-500 will begin in the second half of 2020. Training of specialist officers for Prometheus began in 2017 at the Military Academy of the Military Space Defense in Tver. They are preparing combat crews for new anti-aircraft systems and systems.

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As the chief designer of the Almaz-Antey Concern, Pavel Sozinov, noted, the air defense system is designed to intercept targets at unimaginable distances – several hundred kilometers from the Earth.

“Interception in the upper atmosphere is real. It is hundreds of kilometers from the Earth. It is a system that solves a whole range of tasks of both air defense and missile defense. Today we are testing the elements of the system with the maximum cost savings for testing,” Sozinov said in an interview.

Ahead of the planet

The promising complex was studied by the commercial director of the Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine, military expert Alexei Leonkov. On the radio of Sputnik, he noted that the S-500 is unique and universal.

“There are no analogues. Even the closest competitors – the Americans – have two separate complexes. This is the Patriot complex, which works to certain heights, and the THAAD missile defense complex, which works only for ballistic purposes. And we get a universal complex that can work and on-air targets at long ranges, and on high-altitude targets – at high altitudes, “said Alexei Leonkov.

Recall, recently in the USA they lamented that they do not have complexes capable of intercepting targets in the upper atmosphere.

Earlier, Pravda.Ru wrote about the timing of receipt of the S-500 in the arsenal of the Russian army.

The day is not far off when the first samples of the new brainchild of the Almaz-Antey concern, the S-500 anti-aircraft missile system, will enter the arsenal of the Russian army. At the same time, tests are ongoing of another modern S-350 Vityaz complex, which will replace the S-300PS air defense system.

This is described in a material published by the American publication The National Interest, observer Dave Majumdar, quoting the commander of the air defense forces of the Russian Air Force, Lieutenant General Viktor Gumenny: “We expect that the first samples of the S-500 anti-aircraft missile system will be delivered to the troops soon”.

The new complex, which will occupy the upper tier of the echeloned unified air defense system of Russia, will be able to fight targets at altitudes of about 200 kilometers. This means that the S-500 will be able to hit the approaching supersonic aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles of the enemy at a distance of 640 kilometers. The first regiment of new anti-aircraft missile systems will defend Moscow and the central part of Russia.

It is expected that the S-500 will be able to detect and simultaneously hit up to 10 warheads of ballistic missiles flying at speeds up to seven kilometers per second. In addition, this system is equipped with interceptor missiles with an active homing radar, which resembles the THAAD system (a missile defense system for mobile ground-based for high-altitude atmospheric interception of medium-range missiles), Lockheed Martin.

Like all modern Russian air defense systems, the S-500 must be highly mobile and have a whole network of radars providing interception and guidance at a target over long distances. It will use the 91N6A (M) combat control radar, a modified 96L6-CPU target radar and target radar, as well as new multi-mode 76T6 and 77T6 anti-missile radars, as reported by the Missile Threat publication of the George Marshall and Clermont Institutes.

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