In late December, new information was published on the progress of work on the S-500 anti-aircraft missile system. For 2020, it is planned to conduct preliminary tests of this air defense system, and in 2025 the first serial complex will be handed over to the troops. Naturally similar news could not go unnoticed. Foreign media reacted to them with a number of interesting publications.
On December 31, the material “原创 俄 S500 系统 将 测试 ， 预计 5 年 后 交付 ， 或 成 F35 和 F22 的 绝命 杀手？” appeared on the Sohu.com platform, dedicated to the prospects of the Russian S-500 project. The headline was a clear threat to modern foreign aircraft, but the article itself raised more interesting questions.
After reviewing the well-known performance characteristics, the author of Sohu.com called the S-500 complex a serious threat to all modern US fighters. And such an anti-aircraft missile system should come into service with the Russian army in the coming years.
At the same time, the topic of export deliveries of modern and promising air defense systems is raised. China in the recent past purchased a number of modern Russian-made models, in connection with which there is debate about the possible acquisition of the latest S-500 air defense systems. But this time you should not expect such a contract.
According to Russian officials, the sale of the S-500 to third countries is not planned. The emergence of such a decision was led by three main factors. The first is the exceptional characteristics and capabilities of the complex. Russia does not want foreign countries to have such a model, not to mention the technology falling into the wrong hands.
The second reason for refusing export is the need to re-equip your army first with the desired benefits. The third factor is related to the specifics of the arms market. The existing S-400 air defense system is already enjoying some popularity among customers, and in such a situation, launching a new model on the market does not make much sense.
Thus, China is unlikely to be able to acquire Russian S-500 systems. However, this is not considered an occasion for pessimism. In the past, China purchased the S-300 air defense system and developed the HQ-9 system on their basis. The author of Sohu.com believes that on the basis of the recently purchased S-400, Chinese industry will be able to create another proprietary air defense system, comparable to the Russian S-500. In this case, it will be possible to do without importing the latter.
On January 7, an article “俄 新一代 反导 系统 亮点 何在” (“Advantages of the Russian Anti-Ballistic Missile System”) appeared on the S-500 air defense system in a Chinese online publication, Zhongguo Junwang. Based on the available data, Chinese experts tried to evaluate a promising Russian product.
“Zhongguo Junwang” calls the S-500 a 5th generation complex, created on the basis of the S-400 system of the previous 4th generation. Superiority over the predecessor is ensured in range (up to 600 km) and in reach in height (up to 180 km). As a result, the S-500 will be able to more effectively deal with aviation enemy, incl. at long distances, as well as to solve missile defense tasks. Chinese authors believe that the S-500 will also be able to attack spacecraft in low orbits.
The Chinese publication believes that the S-500 air defense system has three characteristic advantages that provide high performance. The first advantage is related to the missiles used. It is assumed that SAM from the S-500 uses the fragmentation principle of hitting a target, which allows for high efficiency at a limited cost of the rocket. Interception at maximum ranges should be carried out by a 77N6-N missile with a height of up to 70 km and a hit accuracy of about 3 m.
The second advantage is the radar from the new air defense system. The complex includes a surveillance radar of the S-band 91N6E, a three-coordinate station of the C-band 96L6-CPU and a 77T6 fire control radar. There is also a multifunctional 76T6 firing control radar system. The combined use of all these products provides effective monitoring of the air situation in all ranges of range and altitude.
The third advantage is the sophisticated complex management tools. The S-500 includes a 55K6MA command vehicle and an 85Zh6 combat control station. They are probably a modernized version of the facilities of older complexes. The objective of these tools is data processing and fire control. “Zhongguo Junwang” refers to the “unique characteristics” of command posts, but does not provide specific parameters.
On January 10, the English-language publication Defense News published an article “West's reluctance to share tech pushes Turkey further into Russian orbit” with information on possible deliveries of Russian air defense systems to the Turkish armed forces. Data of this kind was obtained from an unnamed source in Turkey, familiar with the issues of building air defense.
According to Defense News, recent disagreements between Turkey and the US could have serious consequences. Ankara is being pushed out of NATO’s orbit, and as a result, it may be interested in broader cooperation with Russia. Some foreign countries refuse to share modern technologies and products with Turkey for political reasons, and she is forced to look for alternatives - in the face of other countries with which there is no disagreement.
Not so long ago, these processes led to the conclusion of a contract for the supply of Russian S-400 air defense systems, and a similar order for the promising S-500 may appear in the near future. The source of Defense News did not discuss the possibility of purchasing such systems, although he noted that everything was going according to plans.
Another source of the publication, working in the field of diplomacy, pointed out the need to get the maximum number of Russian technologies and products as soon as possible - if other foreign countries refuse to represent them. Among the required models and developments, this diplomat named the S-500 air defense system.
However, both sources did not provide specific data on procurement plans, negotiations with suppliers, etc. In addition, they did not recall the earlier statements of Turkish President R.T. Erdogan on the possible purchase of the S-500 in the future.
The latest news about the imminent start of the S-500 tests and the timing of the entry of air defense systems into service did not go unnoticed. At the same time, foreign media generally did not pay special attention to these news, limiting themselves only to reprinting the original messages.
However, some foreign publications tried to present the prospects of the new Russian development, as well as assess its export potential. As before, such assessments encountered an objective problem in the form of a lack of information. Russian industry is in no hurry to publish all the most interesting data on the S-500 project, which makes it difficult to study. Nevertheless, it is already possible to make forecasts in the context of general technical capabilities and export potential.
According to the latest official news, this year the S-500 air defense system will be launched for testing. In a few years, the production of such systems will begin, and in 2025 the army will receive the first production complex. Probably, all these events will become the reason for the real shaft of publications and discussions.