The S-500 is described as an upgraded version of the S-400 SA-20 Triumf, which is estimated to be capable of engaging target missiles with ranges of up to 3,500 kilometers. Almost no information is available on the S-500, but it is assumed to have capabilities that go beyond those specified in the 1997 demarcation thresholds allowed for tactical anti-ballistic missile systems under the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. It is reported that Russia has not undertaken actual development of the S-500, due to a lack of funding, and have consequently proposed joint development of the system with the United States.
Although sharing a similar designation, the relationship between this new S-500 and the S-500U project of the 1960s is unclear. The S-500U multichannel antiaircraft system was a 1968 initiative by the National Air Defense Troops, Navy, Ministry of the Radio Industry and Ministry of the Shipbuilding Industry to create a unified complex for the National Air Defense Troops, Navy and Ground Troops. Missiles of the S-500U complex were supposed to engage enemy aircraft at a range up to 100 km.
The S-500U SAM complex project was rejected by the Ground Troops, which had a requirement to engage not only enemy aircraft, but also short range ballistic missiles. Consequently the S-300 family [SA-10 and SA-12] was developed instead.
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Updated Saturday, August 05, 2000 10:21:23 AM