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Moscow Tests S-500 Prometheus SAM System, Allegedly Capable of Shooting Down Hypersonic Missiles

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S-500 Prometheus system surface-to-air missile system / Open-source illustrative photo
S-500 Prometheus system surface-to-air missile system / Open-source illustrative photo

Previously, russian sources said the newly tested weapon had been long in service

Armed forces of russia have conducted live fire tests of the S-500 Prometheus surface-to-air missile system, Kremlin-controlled newspaper Izvestiya reports. The outlet claims it can intercept both already existing and still developed weapons traveling at speeds at least five times the speed of sound.

Specifically, the article says that during the tests, the S-500 anti-aircraft system has proven capable of intercepting "hypersonic aerial targets," such as the prototype weapons currently developed under the latest missile programs in the West, reentry vehicles of intercontinental ballistic missiles, or short-range ballistic missiles.

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Launcher of an S-500 Prometheus system and a 77N6 interceptor
Launcher of an S-500 Prometheus system and a 77N6 interceptor / Open-source illustrative image

The authors imply that all these capabilities were confirmed during the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile from the Tula submarine of the Northern Fleet of the russian Navy, the episode taking place in the Laptev Sea.

Two factors contribute to the S-500's ability to take down such missiles, as delivered: first is powerful radars supplemented with a potent computer, and second is "highly maneuverable interceptors."

Speaking of the interceptors for the S-500 Prometheus, the russian newspaper for the first time reveals an interesting detail: earlier, the only anti-aircraft missile known to be used with this system was the 77N6 family, now they state the 40N6 missile from the S-400 system was integrated, too.

A 40N6E missile and its transport container (below)
A 40N6E missile and its transport container (below) / Image from russian media sources

Confusing is the fact a necessary performance test is being conducted in February 2024 despite the weapon being formally adopted by the russian military back in 2022. The current number of S-500 systems in service with the russian forces is unknown.

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