Rumors say ATACMS hit the radar of Russia’s latest S-500 system

Today, June 28, rumors emerged regarding the downing of Russia’s latest S-500 Prometheus anti-aircraft system. These claims primarily originate from pro-Ukraine social media accounts, particularly on Telegram and X. According to these “sources,” while the launcher remained intact, the radar of the S-500 battery sustained damage. 

It’s important to note that these reports have not been officially confirmed by Russian, Ukrainian, or Western authorities. There are also no available photos or videos to substantiate these claims. In other words, at the time of writing, these reports are merely rumors. We at BulgarianMilitary.com will continue to follow these developments closely and will provide updates should any official verification or refutation occur. 

Ukrainian intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov has stated that the Russians recently deployed part of their first, and currently only, new S-500 air-defense system.

Despite rumors, US may not provide Ukraine with 300km-range ATACMS
Photo credit: Wikipedia

According to Budanov, the S-500 system is stationed in Russian-occupied Crimea to safeguard the Kerch Strait. This area is critically important for Moscow, as the Kerch Bridge serves as a pivotal supply route into southern Ukraine. 

In the works for over a decade, the S-500 has seen its completion date pushed back multiple times due to the ongoing conflict draining resources from Russia’s R&D budgets. The system is now projected to be fully operational by 2025. 

In its current state, the S-500 offers a slight upgrade over its predecessor, the S-400. It’s noteworthy that Ukrainian forces, using ATACMS, have managed to target and deplete the Russian Air Force’s inventory of S-400 batteries, initially numbering around 50, with regular monthly attacks.

Ukrainian intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov
Photo credit: Pravda.com.ua

The S-500 anti-aircraft system, also known as the Prometey or 55R6M ‘Triumfator-M,’ is a next-generation surface-to-air missile system developed by Russia. It is designed to counter a wide range of aerial threats, including aircraft, drones, and ballistic and cruise missiles. The S-500 is part of Russia’s broader strategy to enhance its air defense capabilities and ensure the protection of critical infrastructure and military assets. 

The dimensions of the S-500 system are substantial, reflecting its advanced capabilities. The system includes various components such as launch vehicles, radar systems, and command and control units. The launch vehicles are typically mounted on heavy-duty trucks, which provide mobility and flexibility in deployment. Each component is designed to be highly mobile, allowing the system to be relocated quickly in response to emerging threats. 

Technically, the S-500 system boasts several advanced features. It includes a multifunctional radar system capable of tracking multiple targets simultaneously. The radar has a high degree of accuracy and can detect stealth aircraft and hypersonic targets. The system’s command and control units are equipped with sophisticated software that enables real-time data processing and threat assessment, ensuring rapid response to incoming threats.

Russia's S-500 system aces anti-hypersonic trial, Russia says
Photo credit: Izvestia

A typical S-500 battery includes several key components: a command post, acquisition and engagement radars, launch vehicles, and support vehicles. The command post coordinates the activities of the battery, processes data from the radars, and issues firing commands. The acquisition radar detects and tracks targets, while the engagement radar guides the missiles to their targets. The launch vehicles carry and fire the missiles, and the support vehicles provide logistical and maintenance support. 

The S-500 system uses a variety of anti-aircraft missiles and interceptors to engage different types of threats. Among these are the 77N6-N and 77N6-N1 missiles, which are designed to intercept ballistic missiles and other high-speed targets. These missiles are equipped with advanced guidance systems and can maneuver at high speeds to ensure successful interception. The system may also use other types of missiles to engage aircraft and cruise missiles, providing a comprehensive air defense capability. 

The operational range of the S-500’s radar is one of its most impressive features. The radar can detect targets at distances of up to 600 kilometers [approximately 373 miles], allowing the system to identify and track threats long before they reach their intended targets. This extended range provides a significant strategic advantage, enabling early warning and proactive defense measures.

Russia to bolster air defense: S-500 acquisition confirmed in 2024
Video screenshot

The operational range of the S-500’s missiles varies depending on the specific type of missile used. The 77N6-N and 77N6-N1 missiles, for example, have an estimated range of up to 500 kilometers (approximately 310 miles) for engaging aerial targets and up to 200 kilometers (approximately 124 miles) for intercepting ballistic missiles. This range allows the S-500 to engage threats at considerable distances, providing a layered defense capability that enhances overall effectiveness.

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