China may become the first and main foreign buyer of the S-500 Prometey (Prometheus) air defense system once sales abroad begin.
The new air defense system, designed to engage all manner of aerial targets, from drones to hypersonic cruise missiles and even spacecraft, began production last month.
The S-500 Prometey is expected to start entering service with the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces in 2020.
While China has made significant progress in developing its own indigenous air defense systems with platforms such as the HQ-9B, their capabilities remain limited relative to the latest Russian platforms such as the S-400 and S-300V4, meaning for the foreseeable future the PLA will continue to rely on Russian platforms.
Pointing to the popularity of previous generations of advanced Russian military hardware among the Chinese, and the recent start of deliveries of a second batch of S-400’s to the country, China could very well become “a leading client for Russia’s S-400 missile system.”
China became the third country after Russia and Belarus to receive the S-400, currently fielding one regiment of S-400’s after deliveries began and concluded last year.
The delivery of China’s second batch of S-400’s started last week, with three ships’ worth of components expected to provide almost all the necessary parts for a second regiment of the system to enter service with the Asian country.
However, the S-500’s technical specifications remain shrouded in secrecy, although reports speculate that the system will be capable of destroying targets from distances of up to 600 km away.
The superior S-500 system is able to simultaneously track and strike up to 10 ballistic targets moving at hypersonic speeds up to 7 km per second (the equivalent of about Mach 20).
Along with China, Turkey and India has also signed multi-billion dollar contracts with Moscow for S-400’s, with deliveries to Turkey starting earlier this month, and India expecting to get its systems by 2023.
The US regime has contemplated sanctioning both countries over their purchase of the systems, with Ankara warning last week that it might reconsider these deals with Boeing if Washington put sanctions on the country over the S-400’s.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2019.