Russian S-500 system passes anti-hypersonics test

Imagine a device with the ability to annihilate ballistic missiles and neutralize targets traveling at hypersonic speeds. That is the promise of Prometheus. But his abilities don’t stop there.

The S-500 Prometheus, under the supervision of the Russian Armed Forces, has undergone recent tests to evaluate its capability against hypersonic targets, according to a statement from the Russian Defense Ministry to Izvestia.

This air defense platform has proven to be effective in both identifying and neutralizing advanced threats, including hypersonic missiles and potential futuristic developments. This achievement is notable given the complexity inherent in detecting and handling hypersonic targets, which present a significant challenge to radar systems, detecting them only at critical times.

Sources inside the military sector informed Izvestia that the S-500 Prometheus has validated its ability to intercept hypersonic targets throughout multiple test phases. These targets include prototypes similar to the Russian Avangard strategic hypersonic aircraft and other missiles of more conventional design, demonstrating the system’s ability to track and intercept such targets effectively.

In addition, the Ministry of Defense noted the successful launch of a missile from the nuclear submarine “Tula” of the Northern Fleet, located in the Laptev Sea, aimed at the Chizha training ground.

This exercise focused on the destruction of ground targets, marks a significant advance in the technical and military validation of the S-500 Prometheus system. Additional information on these tests has been requested from the department.

Prometheus S-500: cutting-edge technology in anti-aircraft defense

Dmitry Kornev, editor at MilitaryRussia, credits the S-500 for its impressive versatility. This system cannot only engage intercontinental ballistic missile warheads, which travel at hypersonic speeds, but also deftly handle guided warheads and shorter-range defense systems.

Operational integration with the S-400 system enhances its effectiveness, allowing both systems to form a defense network capable of countering a wide range of air and space threats.

The S-500, also known as Prometheus, has the ability to intercept everything from short-range missiles to intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as hypersonic-guided projectiles that operate at extreme speeds at low altitudes.

Despite this capability, the prevalence of such systems remains limited, raising questions about the specific targets of the S-500. In this context, the United States is just beginning to explore the deployment of land-based missiles of this nature.

Kornev attributes the S-500’s efficiency against hypersonic targets to advances in radar technology and cutting-edge computer systems, which process data in real-time for precise guidance of the launchers. The key to success against these fast targets lies in the use of agile and fast missiles.

Engaging hypersonic targets presents unique challenges, such as the need to track and intercept small-sized and unusually shaped entities with advanced radar capabilities. While traditional ballistic missiles can be detected at ranges of up to two thousand kilometers, allowing enough time to calculate their trajectory, hypersonic targets, which fly close to the atmospheric limit, can be detected at only 300-500 kilometers.

This significantly reduces the scope for assessment and response, requiring rapid computational analysis and the coordinated launch of multiple missiles to ensure effective interception, especially when the target demonstrates maneuverability.

The S-500 Prometheus: Destined for Russian National Air Defense

The S-500 Prometheus air defense system, one of the most enigmatic projects in the national defense industry, has maintained a veil of mystery since its conception. Although its development has been secretive, with official details not yet disclosed, its existence was first made public in the media in 2009, although its origins date back to an earlier period. By 2022, reports began to circulate about the start of deliveries of this system to the armed forces.

Imagine a device with the ability to annihilate ballistic missiles and neutralize targets traveling at hypersonic speeds. That is the promise of Prometheus. But his abilities don’t stop there. This technological giant, adaptable for air transport using military cargo aircraft, offers a quick and effective solution to reinforce air and anti-missile defense at any required point.

The S-500’s arsenal is diverse and includes missiles designed to meet a wide range of threats. It uses the 40N6 missile, already operational in the S-400 system, for aerodynamic targets, and the 77N6 missile, equipped with both conventional and special warheads, to intercept ballistic missiles in the extra-atmospheric region and at the threshold of space.

Rather than replacing the S-400 system, the S-500 is conceived as a complement to the existing anti-aircraft defense, focused on the protection of the country’s vital administrative and industrial centers. This system can use the S-400 ultra-long-range missiles, which are already in service, to shoot down enemy aircraft more than 400 km away.

The S-500 is made up of several crucial elements: a combat command post, a long-range radar for threat detection, anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, aviation units and dedicated launchers.