The first S-500 air defence system has entered service in the Moscow region. (Russian MoD)
The first S-500 55R6M Prometey (Prometheus) strategic air-defence system has entered service with a unit in the Moscow region, the TASS news agency reported on 13 October, citing a source close to the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The first regimental set is to be followed by a second in the first half of 2022, the source added. No official announcement has been made by the MoD, but Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told the RIA Novosti news agency in September that deliveries were under way to Russian forces. These initial S-500 units may be intended primarily for training purposes or limited service, as the Izvestia newspaper reported on 12 October that Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov has said serial production and deliveries of the S-500 are scheduled for 2025.
A Russian air defence regimental set typically consists of two Divizion (battalion) sets. A typical battalion set for a similar-sized system such as an S-400 would usually consist of around eight transporter, erector, launchers (TELs) and their associated supporting assets. An S-500 regimental set could be based around a similar structure, with around 16 TELs in a regimental set. However, much about the system remains unknown and it is quite possible a different operating structure has been adopted for the system.
The S-500 is intended to provide an outer tier to Russia's layered strategic air-defence network and will be combined into a single defensive contour with the Pantsir-SM short-range air-defence system, according to Izvestia.