Soon after 2020, Russia’s skies will be ruled by an air defense system packing S-500 Prometheus hypersonic missiles developed by the VKO Almaz-Antey Concern.
The missiles are being developed far away from prying eyes in a top secret location. Moscow is playing its
A separate ultra-long-range guided missile, coined the 40N6, is also being developed for the new air defense system. Its new automatic homing head will enable it to flirt with Earth’s orbit while independently identifying targets in space before intercepting them. In the
Radar systems will continue to guide each 40N6 but they will perform specific functions to improve accuracy - for example, the various radars will be responsible for tasks like seeking warplanes and helicopters; cruise missiles skirting the terrain; ballistic missiles nose-diving from lofty heights; and enemy targets in near space.
The designers are experimenting with different warheads for the 40N6, but so far they kept schtum. The 40N6 unit itself will be able to fly to its target at
According to information from open sources, the S-500 system is already capable of engaging targets from 500 km away. In comparison, the actual "ceiling" of the previous version of the air defense system (the S-400
The main difference between the S-500 and all similar foreign systems is its 360-degree range. Its closest rival, the American MIM-104 Patriot, can only search a preset direction and at an angle of 180 degrees. It also takes a crew about half an hour to deploy the Patriot launchers and put them in firing position.
This is an awfully long time when missiles are hurtling towards you at speeds in excess of several thousand kilometers per hour. Also, the maximum range of the American system is 200 km, while the range of the S-500 already stands at 500 km and is expected to grow by the time it's integrated into the army.
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