Russia could sell advanced S-500 anti-aircraft missile launcher to China & India despite potential US ire

Follow RT on A high-tech new Russian air defense system that has sparked fears for NATO warplanes could soon be shipped to China and India under the terms of new export deals being considered by military-industrial bosses in Moscow.

Speaking to business daily RBK on Tuesday, Dmitry Shugaev, the director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, said that deploying the advanced S-500 launcher to the country’s own defense forces would be the first priority. However, “when the system has been delivered to the Russian Army in the required volume, it will also be possible to supply it for export,” he said.

“We consider India, as well as China, and all the states with which we have long-standing and predictable partnerships, as potential future owners of the system,” Shugaev went on. The day before, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the first of the S-500 anti-aircraft launchers would be handed over to combat troops in the next few years, under plans to modernize the country’s military equipment.

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Moscow has touted the S-500 as the most advanced weapon of its kind, capable of taking out high-speed warplanes and even, potentially, hypersonic weapons in near-Earth orbit. Putin has previously described the launcher as “unique.”

However, exports of Russian rocket technology have caused concern in the US, with Washington slapping tough sanctions on countries that placed orders for the system’s predecessor, the S-400. Even Turkey, a NATO member, has faced restrictions and been shut out of American procurement programs in response to its decision to explore purchasing the launcher.

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General Tod Wolters, of the US European Command, and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, has said the system would “attempt to exploit the F-35’s capabilities,” regardless of which side of the battlefield it was on. “You cannot operate an F-35 in the vicinity of an S-400,” he said, despite reports that the Israeli Air Force has flown the jets close to the missile launchers in Syria with no issues.

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