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Russia to Market New S-500 Space Warfare System For Export By 2030 – Who Are the Likely Clients?

After multiple delays, Russia’s S-500 long range air defence system is expected to enter service before the end of 2021, with serial production of missiles for the system having begun in the second week of August. The system is prized for a number of advanced features including its very high degree of situational awareness, its 600km engagement range, its ability to intercept hypersonic and space targets including satellites and ICBMs, and its ability to network with older air defence systems such as the S-400 to maximise situational awareness. Alexander Mikheev, the head of Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, stated 24 August regarding system’s possible export: “We plan to introduce the S-500 air defence missile system on the global market by 2030.” 

It was previously uncertain whether Russia would offer the S-500 for export considering that it can be considered a strategic weapon due to its focus on ballistic missile defence including against intercontinental range attacks. With the U.S. developing hypersonic space aircraft and a range of hypersonic weapons, the S-500 could be considered a valuable asset by a number of potential NATO adversaries. The two leading potential clients are thought to be China and Algeria, although India, Belarus and possibly even Vietnam or Iran could potentially show an interest in the system. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also expressed his country’s interest in the system, although Ankara’s intentions in acquiring high end Russian weapons and the nature of its interests have been repeatedly brought to question. 

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