Major Humiliation For Putin, Ukraine’s ATACMS Strikes Destroyed Russia’s Newest S-500 Prometey Surface-to-air Missile

Ukraine’s forces may have struck Russia’s newest S-500 air defense system using U.S.-supplied ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System) missiles, according to Ukraine’s intelligence HUR.

The Ukrainian Defence Forces have probably destroyed the Russian new-generation S-500 anti-aircraft system. This was reported by the Telegram channel of Divizion-TIVAZ. According to Telegram-channel, the Russian SAM was destroyed with the help of ATCMS missile with a cluster warhead.

“It is reported that the newest Russian S-500 air defense system was destroyed by ATACMS cluster missiles. The cost of one of these reaches $600 million,” Andriy Tsaplienko, a Ukrainian journalist, said on his Telegram channel, without elaborating on when or where the system was allegedly destroyed.

Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s HUR military intelligence agency, told Ukrainian media on June 12 that Russia had placed components of an S-500 anti-aircraft missile system in annexed Crimea. A military expert assessed earlier this month that Russia could have four of the S-500s—also known as the Prometheus surface-to-air missile system (SAM).

S-500 77P6 anti-missile launch vehicles. Photo: Russian Ministry of Defence

Russian media describes the S-500 as a new generation of Russian anti-aircraft missile systems capable of destroying ballistic and aerodynamic targets. Former Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in April that the first samples of the SAM would be delivered to Russian troops this year.

Sidharth Kaushal, a research fellow at the London-based Royal United Services Institute think tank, told Newsweek on June 17 that Russia currently has one active S-500 regiment. This suggests it has two battalions with two air-defense batteries each, giving Russia a total of four of the systems.

In recent weeks, Ukrainian forces appear to have ramped up attacks on Russian air defense systems.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a U.S.-based independent think tank, said in analysis of the conflict in Ukraine on June 13 that Kyiv may be conducting an effort aimed at degrading the systems. This “could enable Ukraine to more effectively leverage manned fixed-wing air power in the long run.”

The ISW said that Kyiv’s forces may seek to actively degrade Russian air defenses before Ukrainian forces receive a significant number of aircraft “in order to set conditions for Ukraine’s future use of manned fixed-wing air power closer to front line areas.”

“Ukrainian forces may be attempting to degrade Russian air defenses ahead of anticipated F-16 fighter jet deliveries to Ukraine, which reportedly will begin in small quantities in summer and fall 2024,” the ISW said.

“Ukrainian forces may be able to eventually work toward a concept of operations that combines fixed-wing air power to support ground operations if the Ukrainian military receives a sufficient number of fighter jets, Western partners train enough trained pilots, and if Ukraine succeeds in degrading Russian air defense capabilities,” the think tank added.

The S-500 Prometey, also known as the 55R6M Triumfator-M, is a modern Russian anti-aircraft missile system developed by Almaz-Antey VKO Concern JSC. This complex represents a new generation of anti-aircraft missile systems designed to destroy both ballistic and aerodynamic targets.

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