Russia has “successfully” tested the S-550 air defense system, local media reported on Wednesday.
The air defense system is capable of “hitting spacecraft, ballistic missile reentry vehicles and hypersonic targets at altitudes of tens of thousands of kilometers,” a source close to the Defense Ministry told the state-run TASS news agency.
There is the possibility that TASS’ source may have confused the S-550 with the S-500, another air-defense system Russia is developing that is being designed with a primary focus on missile defense. However, the S-500, which has been in development since at least 2009, is not expected to enter operational service until 2025.
The S-500 has been undergoing full-scale testing in recent years. RIA Novosti’s story today was mainly focused on a reported test of this system on a range in the Arctic that resulted in the shooting down of an unspecified “hypersonic target.”
It is worth noting, if this report is accurate, that this doesn’t mean the S-500 has demonstrated an ability to engage something like a highly maneuverable hypersonic boost-glide vehicle traveling along an atmospheric flight path.
Many ballistic missiles, as well as the separate re-entry vehicles that certain types are designed to release, reach hypersonic speeds, defined as anything above Mach 5, in the terminal phase of their flight.
The first S-550 air defense system has entered combat duty, the source said.
Russia’s comprehensive missile and air defense is now comprised of Pantsir systems for low altitudes, the family of S systems from S-350 to S-500 for long-range targets, and S-550 for defense in space, it added.
On Nov. 15, Sergey Chemezov, head of Russia’s state tech corporation Rostec, had said that the S-550 will have a longer-range target detection and missile interception capability.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk