Russia unveils its new S-500 Triumfator-M air defense missile system during live firing tests

According to a video released by the Russian Ministry of Defense on July 20, 2021, the Russian Army has unveiled the S-500 Prometheus, also known as 55R6M "Triumfator-M", the latest generation of Russian-made air defense missile system during a live firing test.
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Russian Ministry of Defense has unveiled its new S-500 surface-to-air defense missile system. (Picture source Print Screen Video Russian MoD)

During the live firing test that was held during a training exercise at the Kapustin Yar range, the new Russian-made S-500 air defense missile system destroyed a ballistic target. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the first S-500 will be delivered to Moscow Region’s air and missile defense unit after a full cycle of tests will be completed.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the S-500 will replace the S-400 air defense missile systems which have been in service with the Russian armed forces since 2007. The S-400 Triumph was designed to engage, ECM, radar-picket, director area, reconnaissance, strategic and tactical aircraft, tactical and theatre ballistic missiles, medium-range ballistic missiles and other current and future air attack assets, at a maximum range of 400 km, and an altitude of up to 30 km. The S-400 Triumph can also destroy Tomahawk cruise missiles and other types of missiles, including precision-guided ones, as well as AWACS aircraft, also at ranges of up to 400 km.

The development of the S-500 began in the 2000s and is now ready for production, however, its technical characteristics have not been disclosed. Citing the Russian Ministry of Defense, the missile of the S-500 will be able to destroy hypersonic targets. Hypersonic cruise missiles are powered by high speed, air-breathing engines, or scramjets,” after acquiring their target. Unlike ballistic missiles, hypersonic weapons do not follow a ballistic trajectory and can maneuver en route to their destination.

The S-500 nicknamed Prometheus is the latest generation of Russian-made surface-to-air defense missile system, currently under development by the Russian defense company Almaz-Antey. According to Russian sources, the S-500 is an advanced version of S-400 with dedicated components designed to intercept ballistic missiles at a height of up to 200 km. The S-500 is designed for intercepting intercontinental ballistic missiles and for air defense against Airborne Early Warning and Control and jamming aircraft.

The S-500 Prometheus uses two new types of missile: the 77N6-N and 77N6-N1. The first one is fitted with an inert warhead deigned to destroy nuclear warheads by force of impact, it’s to say by hitting them with precision at great speed. According to the Russian defense industry, the S-500 will be also able to fire the 53T6M missile, also called PRS-1M, a new hypersonic interceptor developed by Russia as part of the A-135 missile defense system and intended as the replacement for the 53T6 endo-atmospheric interceptor. The new interceptor is capable of reaching a top speed of 4 kilometers per second, which means Mach 14.

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