Delivery of S-500 Air Defense System Delayed Until 2017

MOSCOW, February 7 (RIA Novosti)

Russia’s Almaz-Antey concern will finish the development of the advanced S-500 air defense system by 2017, two years later than the deadline announced earlier, the company’s General Director Vitaly Neskorodov said.

The S-500, a long-range air defense missile system, is expected to become the backbone of a unified aerospace defense system being formed in Russia.

Neskorodov said in an interview with Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper on Monday that the complexity of technical solutions used in this unique system and some management problems led to the delay in the development.

“We have to step up the work and make up for lost time,” he said. “Nevertheless, we will have prototypes of several components of the system ready for testing by the end of 2012.”

Russian officials provide sketchy details on the technical characteristics of the new system.

The S-500 will reportedly have an extended range of up to 600 kilometers (over 370 miles) and simultaneously engage up to 10 targets.

The Russian military has demanded that the system must be capable of intercepting ballistic missiles and hypersonic cruise missiles and plans to order at least ten S-500 battalions for the future Russian Aerospace Defense.

The S-500 could become a trump card in Russia’s response to the U.S.-backed European missile shield, which Moscow believes may threaten Russia’s nuclear deterrent.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has proposed setting up a government body responsible for consolidating efforts aimed at the creation of an effective aerospace defense network in the country.

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