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Eastern Europe and Central Asia , Aircraft and Anti-Aircraft

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Reports Production of S-500 SAM Systems has Already Begun

March 03rd - 2018

Eleven years after Russia's Armed Forces first inducted the S-400 Triumf air defence system into service, the state owned Almaz-Antey arms corporation has begun initial production of the more advanced S-500 system. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin stated in regards to the development: "By decision of Vladimir Putin, the concern 'Almaz-Antey' has built two plants in Kirov and Nizhny Novgorod. So, at the Kirov machine building enterprise design capacity for the production alone of promising anti aircraft missile systems – thousands of missiles a year. Nizhny Novgorod machine-building plant has already started production of the final systems like S-500 and S-400 on a truck chassis and semi-trailers on wheels." Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported that S-500 systems would begin to enter service in the Russian armed forces in 2020. If following the trend set by previous long range air defence platforms, they would first see deployments around the Moscow area with the capital's defence being given first priority.

Pavel Sozinov, general designer at missile manufacturer Almaz-Antey, stated regarding the plans for the development of Russia's air defences in the coming years: "We have made a forecast for the next 25 years as regards the development of aerospace attack weapons. Our system must be able to hit weapons that are not yet available today but could appear in the future. We are talking of intercepting targets in the rarefied layers of the atmosphere, including the upper levels of the atmosphere a hundred kilometers from the earth."

While the S-400 was heavily based on the preceding Cold War era S-300P series, an evolution of the S-300PM2 variant near indistinguishable in its external appearance which was designated S-400 rather than the originally planned S-300PM3, the S-500 represents an entirely new weapons system and perhaps the most significant development for Russia's air defence forces since the Soviet Union inducted the original S-300. The S-500 is expected to join the S-400 and S-300VM to strengthen Russia's air defence network. With an unparalleled 600km strike range and able to strake targets at altitudes of 200km, the new system is set to form the upper tier of Russia's air defence system. It's mobility, anti stealth capabilities and ability to engage hypersonic missiles travelling at speeds of 5km per second will make it an invaluable asset, one likely to be highly sought out by clients abroad - particularly in light of the unprecedented export successes of the S-400. Whether Russia will be willing to export the fighter, and if so when and to which parties, remains to be seen. With China having been the leading client for Russian made air defences and the People's Liberation Army fast expanding its anti access area denial capabilities in the face of growing U.S. military deployments to the Asia-Pacific region, the country has much to gain from acquiring the S-500 is likely to be the first export client for the platform should foreign sales ever be approved.

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