The new domestic S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems have not yet had time to really go to the troops, as information has already begun to appear about the start of work on a new generation air defense system. According to the established tradition, the new complex was named S-500, and its development was entrusted to the Almaz-Antey State Design Bureau.
The shape of the future system was determined almost ten years ago - in 2002. But officially the development of the S-500 was announced only in 2009. At the same time, the approximate deadline for the completion of design work was announced - 2012.
As with any new technology, there was very little information on the S-500 at first. Of course, it was immediately clear that the new air defense system should be superior to its predecessors, but how and how much one could only guess. As the work progressed, the management of GSKB Almaz-Antey slowly, bit by bit, disclosed information. So, for example, it was announced that the S-500 will be able to attack simultaneously ten supersonic ballistic targets against six of the S-400 Triumph. And since the S-500 is being created on the basis of the Triumph, there will be a minimum number of external differences.
But in the composition of the equipment, one should expect significant changes. The most notable of them: a radar with a new active phased array, operating in the so-called. X-band (centimeter waves). Former general director of "Almaz-Antey" I. Ashurbeyli said that the new radar is a unique device and so far there are no systems similar to it.
The main purpose of the S-500 is to protect objects and defeat aerodynamic (aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles) and ballistic (missile warheads) targets. The ability to successfully attack targets moving at speeds up to 5 km / s is declared. The maximum range of destruction is up to 600 kilometers. The height of target destruction is from 50 meters to 30 km.
There is no exact data on the architecture of the complex: whether it will be two-echelon or three-echelon. However, both versions agree that the S-500 will have long-range and ultra-long-range missiles.
In their numerous interviews, representatives of the Almaz-Antey concern have repeatedly noted the fact that the S-500 is being created to “work” with all existing potential goals, as well as those that will appear only in the future. There is also unofficial information that the computer complex of the system will be able to automatically recognize the type of target, determine its priority and issue a request to the operator to destroy the most dangerous one.
Thus, if the complex goes into service by 2020, it will be able to effectively perform its tasks, at least until the end of the 40s. And by that time, most likely, both S-600 and S-700 will be ready, which are not even planned for now.
Like the previous complexes, the S-500 will have some degree of unification with its predecessor, the Triumph. First of all, cars, transport-launch containers, etc. Also, information appeared in a number of sources that the missiles of the complex will have a certain number of parts and assemblies, unified with the new missile defense missiles of Moscow.
The issue of creating a ship-based anti-aircraft missile system on the basis of the S-500 is also being considered.
According to the existing plans, work on the S-500 will have a beneficial effect not only on the country's air defense, but also on the production facilities of the Almaz-Antey concern. The construction of two plants has already begun, which will produce missiles and ground equipment. In the future, both plants will be engaged in the production of new generations of air defense systems.
In general, there is a great complex around. But there are also problems: when the start of work on the S-500 was announced, the deadline for the introduction of the complex into service was announced - 2015. But practice makes adjustments and by this time it will be possible, at most, to conduct tests. According to current plans, the first copies of the complex will be assembled in 2013, and it will take several more years before being put into service. So far, the start of mass production and acceptance into service are scheduled for 2017.
But we have to hear the opinion that the 17th year is an optimistic version. The terms of sending the S-500 to the series and to the troops have already been postponed 2-3 years, other delays cannot be ruled out. In addition, at the beginning of this year, General Director I. Ashurbeyli and Chief Designer A. Lagovier left the Almaz-Antey concern. Regardless of the reasons, their departure could not but affect the progress of the project. At the same time, military expert I. Korotchenko has repeatedly published various materials of an ambiguous nature on the biography and professional activities of Ashurbeyli. This data can be interpreted in different ways, but in the community of people interested in the defense industry, there is already an opinion that a change in the management of the concern will benefit the enterprise.
Nevertheless, it is too early to talk about the prospects of the Almaz-Antey concern and about the specific timing of the arrival of the S-500 in the troops.