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Russia quietly conducted the world's longest surface-to-air missile test

Amanda Macias
  • Russia quietly conducted the world's longest surface-to-air missile test, according to sources with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence about the weapons program.
  • The S-500 surface-to-air missile system successfully struck a target 299 miles away.
  • Russia claims that the ground-based missile system is capable of intercepting hypersonic missiles, drones, aircraft as well as stealth warplanes like the F-22 and the F-35.

Russia quietly conducted the world's longest surface-to-air missile test, according to sources with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence concerning the weapons program.

The S-500 surface-to-air missile system successfully struck a target 299 miles away, which the U.S. assessed is 50 miles further than any known test, said the sources, who spoke to CNBC on the condition of anonymity.

Russia claims that the ground-based missile system is capable of intercepting hypersonic missiles, drones, aircraft as well as stealth warplanes like the F-22 and the F-35. The S-500 system would expand the Kremlin's capabilities to engage multiple targets with precision strikes.

Russia also claims the system has a range capable of destroying objects flying at near-space ranges or 62 miles above the Earth's surface.

The developments about the new missile system emerge as investigators claim that a Russian-owned surface-to-air missile blew up Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014 over eastern Ukraine. Russia has denied involvement in the incident. On Thursday, Moscow's defense ministry said none of the country's air-defense missile systems crossed the Russia-Ukraine border.

A medium-range Buk surface-to-air missile system was reportedly used to down the plane, resulting in the deaths of nearly 300 people. The Buk system is from a different family of missile systems as the new S-500 and its predecessor, the S-300V4, which has been operational since the late 1970s.

The test of the new system used a modified variant of the missile used in the S-300V4 surface-to-air system.

The latest revelation comes one week after CNBC learned that multiple U.S. intelligence reports assess that Russia will be capable of fielding a hypersonic glide vehicle called Avangard, a weapon that no country can defend against, by 2020.

The hypersonic weapon is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, is designed to sit atop an intercontinental ballistic missile. Once launched, it uses aerodynamic forces to sail on top of the atmosphere.

Sources, who spoke to CNBC on the condition of anonymity, said Russia successfully tested the weapon twice in 2016 . The third known test of the device was carried out in October 2017 and resulted in a failure when the platform crashed seconds before striking its target.

Meanwhile, Russia is expected to test their hypersonic glide vehicle again this summer.



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