Key point: It is increasingly apparent that the Kremlin never had any serious intention of replacing every S-400 with an S-500.
Russia's next-generation air and missile defense system is on the verge of entering serial production, according to the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov. "On time, they are putting a new system into operation-- the S-500," Borisov told Russian news outlet Interfaks earlier today.
Borisov is the latest top-tier Russian official to tease the readiness of the S-500 over the course of this year, joined by the likes of Aerospace Forces Deputy Commander Lieutenant General Yuri Grekhov and Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov. The Russian government and defense industry continues to reaffirm that the S-500 will be delivered within the timetable set by Russia's 2027 state armament program, which established that the first, serially-produced S-500 will enter service in 2020.
A defense industry source told Russian news outlet Izvestia last month that the S-500 recently underwent field testing in Syria, where the Russian Aerospace Forces continue to maintain a significant presence. The Russian Defense Ministry unequivocally denied that the S-500 was ever on Syrian soil in an October 2 statement, claiming that "there was no need" for further testing.
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