That Russia wants to revive its air and ballistic missile defense system—with the much-touted S-500 as its centerpiece—is not a big surprise. But now the design bureau behind the effort has released a road map.
Moscow will get a ballistic missile shield in the guise of S-500 batteries from 2015 on. At least that's what former Almaz-Antei chief designer Igor Ashurbeili says, who notes that the timeline is fixed in a contract with the Russian government. Ashurbeili made the claim in an interview with RIA Novosti on the eve of the Moscow air show, MAKS.
Russia's ballistic missile shield has been decaying, and programs such as the S-300 and S-400 have some limited anti-missile capability. However, for the S-500, intercepting ballistic missiles is the core task.
The system, which is to be relocatable but not mobile in the same sense as the S-300, remains under development and its full performance envelope is not fully established.
The announcement comes as the U.S. and Russia discuss missile defense, in part as the U.S. is pushing the Phased Adaptive Approach in Europe to defend against a ballistic missile attack from Iran, although Moscow has been staunchly opposed for fear it undermines its deterrent.