A video shared by the Russian defense ministry on July 20 has given us a first look at the S-500 air and missile defense system, which has been in development since at least 2009.
While the defense ministry reported of test of the system since 2018, this is the first video footage of the S-500 Prometey firing what is widely believed to be a 77N6 hypersonic interceptor missile during a test.
According to the defense ministry, the system intercepted a high-speed ballistic missile target during a recent test at the Kapustin Yar training ground.
“The live-fire drills carried out within the framework of the tests confirmed the specified tactical and technical characteristics and the high reliability of the Russian military air defense equipment,” the defense ministry said, adding that the first S-500 system would be delivered to an air and missile defense formation near Moscow after the completion of the full test cycle. The ministry did not say when that might happen.
The system’s development has already experienced significant delays, as the country first expected to start series production of the system by 2012. Current estimates and reports say the system could be fielded by 2025. Also referred to as Triumfator-M, S-500 is expected to replace the A-135 anti-ballistic missile system currently in service.
Just like the S-400 system it will complement, the S-500 can fire more than one type of missile, giving it the ability to defend against both ballistic and hypersonic cruise missiles. While details about the range of the new system have been scarce, a CNBC report from 2018 said the S-500 had hit a target at close to 300 miles away. The system has reportedly been designed for a maximum intercept range of around 370 miles for anti-ballistic missile and slightly less for air defense.