Is the S-500 Missile System an F-35 and F-22 Killer? A Pressure Multiplier for Russia’s Air Defences

Having entered service in 2021 after over half a decade of delays, the S-500 lengthy vary floor to air missile system offered an extra larger layer to the Russian air defence community and presently has no close to peer opponents on this planet when it comes to efficiency. The system has a 600km engagement vary, triple that of its closest Western rivals the THAAD and Patriot programs which can’t shoot past 200km. It has the distinctive functionality to intercept manoeuvrable hypersonic missiles at speeds exceeding Mach 10, the place is predecessor the S-400 may intercept Mach 8 targets. Superior options the S-500 is prized for embody its very excessive diploma of situational consciousness with an 800km detection vary towards plane, its potential to intercept satellites and ICBMs, and its potential to community with older air defence programs such because the S-400 to maximise situational consciousness. The place the previous S-400 system which entered service from 2007 was designed with neutralisation of stealth targets in thoughts, specifically stealth fighters such because the newly inducted F-22 and upcoming F-35 of the U.S. Air Pressure, the S-500’s worth towards such targets had repeatedly been known as to query. 

The S-500 was designed to have the ability to neutralise fighter sized goal, and its very highly effective sensors and exact missiles make it doubtlessly extremely formidable in such a job. However the system was not primarily designed with fight towards fighters or different tactical plane in thoughts, and is concentrated totally on neutralising excessive worth targets reminiscent of strategic bombers, strategic ballistic missiles, satellites and area plane. Decrease finish programs such because the S-400, and its shorter ranged enhances such because the BuK-M2 or S-350, will in the meantime bear accountability for tackling tactical plane complementing the S-500. Even when it doesn’t interact them instantly, nonetheless, the S-500 has the potential to make vital contributions to tackling enemy stealth plane. The system’s highly effective and close to jamming proof sensors, when networked with S-400s and different shorter ranged programs, will present them with better situational consciousness and permit them to raised interact stealth targets themselves. 

The S-500 can also be properly optimised to neutralising help plane very important to the efficient operations of enemy stealth fighters reminiscent of airborne early warning (AEW) plane that coordinate NATO fighter models. Tankers are one other notable goal and are key to permitting fighters to cross giant areas with out counting on exterior gas tanks that may in any other case compromise their radar cross part decreasing stealth profiles. American stealth fighters together with the F-22, and significantly the lighter F-35, have a lot shorter ranges than the F-15 of the previous era or than fashionable Russian fighters such because the Su-30SM2 and Su-57, which means even in Europe however significantly within the Pacific they may wrestle to function with out refuelling within the air from tankers. As such tankers are susceptible to S-500 assaults as much as 600km away this can be a potential sport changer. Even the danger of getting tankers compromised may severely constrain operations, as ought to tankers be shot down it may drive fighters to make emergency landings or else be unable to return to base. Satellites relied on for communications, navigation, surveillance and weapons steering, if neutralised by S-500s, would additionally severely impede the operations of enemy stealth fighter models. Thus whereas the S-500 is unlikely to be tasked with concentrating on enemy stealth fighters instantly, its capabilities enable it to significantly impede their effectiveness by the important thing supporting targets it is ready to neutralise at excessive ranges. 

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