PANAGYURISHTE, ($1=0.87 Euros) – China remains the biggest mystery to its adversaries in terms of its military capabilities and potential. Although two years ago during a military parade in Beijing revealed to the world the weapons it develops and deploys, we must not forget that China is a partner of Russia.
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These two countries are not official allies, but are long-term partners, especially in the exchange of experience in military design. Although Beijing has the intellectual and financial capacity to produce modern weapons technology for defense or attack, Beijing cannot miss Russia’s progress in the field of air defense systems over the past decade.
Currently, the Russian S-400 air defense system is considered the most efficient and successful air defense system, especially after the failure of the American Patriot in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. But what Moscow is interested in is selling its latest and all-Russian S-500 Prometheus air defense system.
Such a signal has already arrived from Moscow. “We consider India, as well as China and all the states that we have a long-standing, partner and predictable relations with as prospective buyers of this latest system,” the defense official said in response to a question about whether India could be the first foreign buyer of the Russian-made S-500 weapon.
Of course, India and China are enemies, but that is the essence of the arms business – to sell to both friends and enemies. And if you are in a neutral zone, like Russia, this business is already the golden mean of the Russian military-industrial complex.
But China has a long-term strategy against Taiwan and the Indo-Chinese region. So far, we have witnessed Beijing demonstrate some of its offensive weapons capabilities by periodically conducting naval exercises near Taiwan, and recently sent a flotilla of at least 100 aircraft against the Taiwanese air defenses in a few days.
It is logical to conclude that Beijing would like to ensure the protection of its territory, and especially of its skies. A future war between China and Taiwan will not begin with the sending of troops, but with reconnaissance, most often using reconnaissance planes or unmanned aerial vehicles.
Russia’s S-500 anti-aircraft system is a suitable asset for the Chinese military, and Moscow has already conducted several tests of its capabilities. The system’s characteristics are more than impressive.
In the last two years, speculation about Russia’s latest air defense system has intensified, but some of the characteristics have been voiced, both by senior officials in Russia’s military-industrial complex and by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.
Almaz-Altai CEO Pavel Sozinov says the S-500 will be able to intercept and “fight” missiles several hundred kilometers above us. “Interception in the upper atmosphere is real. It is hundreds of kilometers from the Earth. <…> This is a system that solves a whole range of tasks of both air defense and missile defense. Today we are working out the elements of the system with the maximum cost savings allocated for testing,” Sozinov said in an interview with Arkady Mamontov in his YouTube program.
“We tried to make a forecast for the next 25 years on the development of aerospace attack weapons and believe that it will be very reliable in terms of the characteristics that a potential adversary can achieve in this time. Accordingly, our system must be able to deal with those means which are still missing but may appear in five, seven, or ten years,” Sozinov added.
Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko explained, the main task of the S-500 is to combat the combat equipment of medium-range ballistic missiles (self-intercepting with a launch range of up to 3.5 thousand kilometers) and intercontinental ballistic missiles in the final section of the trajectory, and in certain cases in the middle section.
As we reported on July 29 this year, citing TASS, the Russian Federation has ordered more than ten of its latest S-500 Prometheus anti-aircraft missile systems. According to TASS journalists, during the international exhibition MAKS 2021 near Moscow, a source from the Russian military industry made this comment in an informal conversation with journalists and colleagues.
TASS source claims that Almaz-Altai is currently carrying out the last stage of testing the system – state tests. According to him, they are held “at one of the landfills in southern Russia.” It is expected that by the end of 2021 all tests will be completed, S-500 Prometheus will confirm its characteristics and receive the necessary documentation for serial production. According to the source of TASS, deliveries of the latest and first purely Russian anti-aircraft system [the rest are updated versions from the time of the USSR – ed.] to the Russian armed forces will begin in the second half of 2022.
Much of the information released to the public is speculative and manipulative. Very often it is difficult to distinguish truth from falsehood, and the Russian media do not seek for the most part to inform, but to manipulate.
The information we know about the S-500 Prometheus could also be considered speculation if, at the end of 2020, the US Space Command did not announce that Russia had tested a missile that could hit and destroy satellites in orbit around the Earth. Russia did not deny the test at the time but said it was a test of the new S-500 Prometheus anti-aircraft missile system.
According to Washington, this missile system is a threat to the United States and its allies. “We are ready and determined to deter aggression and protect our nation and our allies from hostilities in space,” the US Space Command statement said.
But is the Russian “silver bullet” [Russian media call the S-500 air defense system – ed.] capable of shooting down the leading product of the American defense industry – the F-35 stealth fighter? We hope we never understand, because if such a situation arises, then obviously the world will face a nobrable evil.
We know a lot about the American fighter, but very little about the Russian S-500 air defense system. The reason is that the Russian authorities refuse to officially disseminate any information, but on the other hand, the Russian military industry itself has managed to “provide” quite unexpected information to the general public in the last 24 months.
We know that the S-500 has a significantly fast response time of between 3 and 4 seconds for a missile launch, and the range of the missile is 600 km. What does this tell us? If the S-400 can shoot down an American F-35 fighter [according to various information from military analysts and engineers – ed.], Then the S-500 has 200 km. greater range of damage than its predecessor, and 6 seconds faster response time than it.
The S-500 works fast. This is a fact. But does it intercept and strike? The short answer is yes, because the S-500 is equipped with the latest in anti-aircraft missile engineering in the world – the 77-N6 and 77N6-N1 missiles. These two missiles can intercept hypersonic missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles, or moving air objects at a speed of 5 Mach. For reference only – the American F-35 fighter can reach a maximum speed of 1.6 Mach. Even the Russian government has officially issued a statement that the S-500 could hit and shoot down a satellite in low orbit, and this message came in response to the Pentagon, which said that Russia had tested an anti-satellite missile.
With such defensive power, China will secure its skies and territory in the event of a conflict with Taiwan. Yes, the United States has stated that it is ready to defend the Asian island from a Chinese attack, but what exactly have they confirmed: direct involvement in the conflict, or assisting Taiwan with American weapons?
China may also be asking itself this question. If Beijing buys the Russian S-500 air defense system from Moscow in the coming years, it will give an unambiguous answer to the question – we are ready for any situation, even for American participation. This will be a signal and a warning to the West – Beijing intends to dominate and the first step before the attack will be to defend.
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