Russian Air Force Deputy Commander for Air Defense Lieut. General Sergei Razygrayev confirmed in an interview with the Moscow Ekho radio that Russia is developing a new, more advanced air and missile defense system designated S-500. The new system development is expected to be completed by 2012. The missile is designed to intercept primarily medium range missiles – what Russia considers ‘a new type of threat’.
The new missile defense system will be capable of intercepting targets at target-speeds up to five kilometers per second, out of earth upper atmosphere. The S-500 is expected to have an extended range of up to 600 km and simultaneously engage up to 10 targets. The system will be capable of destroying hypersonic and ballistic targets. S-500 will be a successor of the S-300 developed in the 1990s and operate in tandem with the S-400 currently entering service with Russian air defense forces.
Both systems were designed as air defense systems with some short-range-missile defense capability. First evidence of the development of the new missile was provided by the Russian Air Force Commander in Chief Col.-Gen. Alexander Zelin earlier this month. Concept evaluation of the S-500 began in the early 2000s and was slow to proceed due to apparent violation of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. At the time, the US and Russia discussed deploying such system as part of a unified missile defense capability.