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Russia Has a New Giant Anti-Ballistic Interceptor Missile (That Works)

The US is spending tons of money on this, but it seems as if it's actually Russia with its vast experience in building great air defenses that is in the lead here. But let's not fool ourselves, this technology is still in its infancy and can not be relied on for safety.

On November 24th, a newly introduced Russian interceptor missile successfully hit a mock target. @DFRLab previously reported on Russia flexing its offensive nuclear capabilities, this time the improvements are defensive. The PRS-1M interceptor missile is the newest addition to the A-135 anti-ballistic missile system (NATO reporting name: ABM-3) guarding Moscow. @DFRLab took a deeper look into the new Russian missile and its capabilities.

Russian MoD (Ministry of Defense) readout the new missile’s successful test on November 24th via the official website. The post included video footage of the actual missile testing, which provided a glimpse into the training grounds where these tests took place.

The Russian MoD post mentioned the test was carried out at Sary-Shagan missile testing site in the Republic of Kazakhstan. The video provided by the MoD confirmed these claims. Sary-Shagan is one of a few military sites (Sary-Shagan, Emba missile testing site and the 929th State Test Flight Center) that Kazakhstan leased out to Russia. The Sary-Shagan site was established in 1956 for testing anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems fired from Kapustin Yar missile test site. The vehicle carrying the missile appeared at the crossroads next to the Sary-Shagan base military airport. The vehicle turned and appeared to move westward, deeper into the military test site.   The official video does not provide enough information to confirm the exact location of the launch. Nevertheless, the launch facility northwest of the location where the vehicle appeared to be turning, is possibly the launch site seen in the video.
Possible launch site.

The launch of the PRS-1M interceptor missile.

Here are these locations pinpointed on the map:

Deputy Commander of the Aerospace Forces formation Colonel Andrey Prihodko stated in the official report:

The anti-ballistic missile followed the flight plan and successfully hit a mock target.

The new missile is a modernized variant of 53T6/PRS-1 (NATO reporting name GAZELLE) and may be deployed inside a stationary reinforced missile silo or from a mobile launcher. The upgraded interceptor missile has a new hull with a composite material heat shield and a more powerful engine.

Reportedly, the PRS-1M interceptor is able to destroy targets at a distance of 350 kilometers and at an altitude, according to various estimates, of 40,000 to 50,000 meters. The long-range missiles will presumably be equipped with nuclear warheads. The older version 53T6/PRS-1 was able to destroy targets only within 80–100 kilometers and at an altitude of 30,000 meters.

Image of the new PRS-1M interceptor missile. (Source: Twitter / @mod_russia)

The A­135 system is a Russian military complex deployed around Moscow to encounter enemy missiles targeting the city or its surrounding areas. It became operational in 1995 and was considered to be a one-of-a-kind system, defending Moscow with nuclear-tipped missiles. The introduction of PRS-1M interceptor missiles, will expand the safe zone around Moscow, arguably even from nuclear threats.


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