RIA Novosti, referring to its source, apparently in the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, reported that tests of the S-500 Prometheus air defense system took place in the Arctic. According to an agency insider, “the launch of a long-range missile system was carried out at a hypersonic target, the target was successfully hit.”
In addition to what has been said, one more information is provided that “testing of another system – S-550 – is not planned in the near future, since its prototypes have not yet been created, while development is underway.”
No details are given, both for the S-500 and the S-550. The second part of the news is somewhat discouraging.
The fact is that another Russian news agency, TASS, spread the news that “the new S-550 air defense system has successfully passed state tests and took up combat duty.” And this was also reported from the words of a certain source close to the military department.
Western media responded fairly to this discrepancy: “Two Russian state media, both citing unnamed sources, put forward completely different statements about the state of development of the country’s S-550 missile defense system, which may also have anti-satellite capabilities.”
So was there a boy? Rather “yes” than “no”, given that the S-550 is an upgrade of the S-500. It makes sense to cite the comment of the deputy general director of the concern “Almaz-Antey” Vyacheslav Dzirkaln at the MAKS-2017 air show: “Prometheus” was developed as an interceptor of ICBMs in the upper atmosphere “.
The general designer of Almaz-Antey said in the same spirit Pavel Sozinov: “We made a forecast of the development of aerospace attack weapons for the next 25 years. Our system must be able to deal with those goals that are still missing today, but may appear. We are talking about interception in thin layers of the atmosphere, including in the upper layers of the atmosphere a hundred kilometers from the ground. “
The next and quite predictable step of the developers, of course, will or has already been taken towards interception in close space. Actually, there are no misunderstandings here either, since the whole world witnessed the successful test of an anti-satellite missile in November 2021.
The State Department, we recall, even published an offended statement: “Russia recklessly conducted a destructive test of anti-satellite weapons against one of its satellites. As a result, more than 1.5 thousand debris appeared under observation, and hundreds of thousands of fragments of smaller space debris, which now threatens the interests of all countries. “
However, there is still no official statement about what kind of system Russia has tested. In the national and foreign media, as well as on the telegram channels of our expert community, there are a variety of assumptions that the launch was carried out either from the S-500, or from the prototype of the A-235 anti-missile system. Or maybe even from the C-550 prototype.
In any case, today there are already enough puzzles to understand what is at stake – for sure, an anti-aircraft missile system with an altitude and interception range of up to 200 km and 750 km, respectively. That is, 50 and 150 km higher and further than the S-500.
By the way, the British newspaper Daily Mail, relying on public Russian information, writes: “The S-550 is the same weapon as the ‘satellite killer’, still known as ‘Nudol’ – a project shrouded in mystery … Sergei Shoigu personally declassified the designation S-550 before the November test, which resulted in the destruction of the Soviet-era Tselina-D military reconnaissance orbital reserve satellite.
Now, against the background of the contradictory statements of the leading Russian news agencies, a lot of guesses have appeared in the world expert community. For example, an expert Joseph Trevithick from The Drive suggests the usual confusion has occurred. Most likely, the source of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation meant “Prometheus”, and the sensation-hungry media made this mistake a “hot dish” for the whole world.
However, there could be a Freudian slip, in the sense that the Russians, according to Trevithick, had in mind a different system than the C-550. However, there is no point in guessing on the coffee grounds. “If anything is clear from this competing news about the status of the S-550 program, as well as this recent test of the S-500, it is that there seems to be a resurgence of interest in missile defense and a renewed commitment to developing anti-satellite capabilities in the Kremlin. … The devastating anti-satellite test in November was certainly one of the solid indicators of this, ”notes The Drive.
Be that as it may, the news background about the S-550 knocks the ground from under the feet of NATO analysts. There is even no doubt that now the Pentagon has paused any military planning in relation to our country. They need to clarify the issue of Prometheus 2.0.
And the author of The Drive notes that Putin can speak ardently and very convincingly when it comes to Russia’s new weapons. Trevithick even quotes VVP: “The United States is sitting with rockets on our doorstep. How would the Americans react if someone delivered the missiles to the border with Canada or Mexico? “
What it is (Russian missiles at the doorstep of the United States) – technically possible, has been repeatedly warned by journalists and experts on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Let’s say more: NATO has already named a missile that may appear on the US border – it’s 9M729, which is also called SSC-8 in the West. The appearance of these weapons, say, in Cuba, could trigger the Caribbean Crisis 2.0. But if the S-550 do indeed go on alert, then the situation will radically change.
The Americans, convinced that the Russians can easily shoot down ICBMs, will prefer to react much more gently than they did 60 years ago. Kennedy… The fact that the American response will not pull towards a slide towards a nuclear war, in particular, is already evidenced by the news background formed by CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and other “authoritative” media resources. These media write about our weapons as stone age axes.
The same The Drive claims that Putin’s demands for security guarantees for Russia can be regarded as a bluff. Say, “there is nothing that would indicate that Russia has made significant progress in the development and implementation of the S-550.” And if so – why then cave in under the Kremlin?
This is surprising also because earlier the American media, and referring to their sources in military intelligence, reported that the new Russian anti-missile missile is capable of nullifying the hegemony of the United States. It, which has not yet received an official name, has absorbed all the best that has been developed by the Almaz-Antey engineering school, the developer of the unique S-300, S-400, S-500 and S-550 air defense systems. In addition, Moscow has its own Elbrus-3M supercomputer for super-fast control of the anti-space interception system, as well as the Don-2N radar, which resembles the Mayan pyramid and is sharpened to detect ICBMs and hypersonic missiles.
You can recall the opinion Mark Schneider, a retired top Pentagon official. He gave the following comment: “The new Russian interceptor missiles will essentially destroy all our satellite-based counter-missile capabilities. And in general, there is a huge asymmetry in relation to space weapons. “