OK, a lot gets under the radar . . . hadn’t noticed interesting reports since August by Izvestiya’s Aleksey Mikhaylov.
The latest is Mikhaylov’s informative update on two Almaz-Antey factories planned to crank out missiles for the S-400 Triumf and S-500 Prometey.
His OPK source says:
- By 2014, large factories in Kirov and Nizhniy Novgorod are supposed to manufacture hypersonic 77N6-N and 77N6-N1 missiles for the S-400 and S-500.
- The missiles will have inert, kinetic kill warheads, and supposedly be capable of intercepting ballistic targets at 7 km/s.
- The Kirov factory will cost 41.6 billion rubles, the one in Nizhniy 39.5 (81.1 together). Almaz will get a credit of 25 billion from VEB; the Defense Ministry will invest 35 billion. One wonders where the balance comes from, and what the terms of this three-way partnership are.
Almaz greatly needs a new production base to field missiles for its SAM launchers. It was planned in 2008, but the financial crisis prevented it. The military doesn’t want to repeat the S-400 experience. It remains armed with older, shorter-range 48N6 and 9M96 missiles. Since 2007 only seven battalions (3 and 1/2 “regimental sets”) of the S-400 (out of 56 planned) have been fielded.
New missile production should coincide with serial production of the S-500 system (not later than 2014). It remains under development. However, Mikhaylov reports rumored sightings of Prometey prototypes at this or that test range.
Over time, various officers and officials have claimed new, long-range missiles for the S-400 would be fielded in 2013, 2014, or 2015.
By way of conclusion, Mikhaylov turns to independent defense analyst Aleksandr Konovalov to comment:
“The country’s leadership looks at the defense sector like a Coke machine. Put money in and get a bottle. Nothing is that simple with the domestic OPK, and investing a lot of money doesn’t guarantee getting production precisely on time. And discussion about the S-500 is questionable, it’s possible it doesn’t even exist in drawings.”