Russia expects to begin fielding within two years its next-generation interceptors capable of defending against ground-based ballistic missiles, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday.
The S-500 is the latest iteration in Russia's family of missile-defense systems. The technology is intended to be capable of destroying hostile aircraft, medium-range ballistic missiles and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
"This is our response to the U.S. antimissile defense," Russian air-space defense forces deputy commander Kirill Makarov told the state-run Russia 24 network.
Makarov said 10 of the S-500 units would be deployed by late 2015.
Moscow objects to the growing NATO ballistic missile shield in Europe and is concerned that U.S. missile interceptors planned for fielding around the continent in the coming years could secretly target its own long-range nuclear weapons. Russia has warned that if its concerns continue to go unresolved, it will take military countermeasures to neutralize the perceived threat. NATO and Washington insist the missile defense framework is solely aimed at defending against possible missile strikes launched from the Middle East.
Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin announced last week that three additional S-400 regiments will enter into service in 2014, RIA Novosti reported.
The S-400 Triumf is the older cousin of the S-500. It is designed to intercept aerial threats from altitudes as high as 18.6 miles and at ranges as far as 250 miles. S-400 units are already deployed near Moscow, the Kaliningrad exclave and in the Primorye region.
This article was published in Global Security Newswire, which is produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.