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MOSCOW, April 9. /TASS/. New missiles for S-400 Triumf air defense systems capable of destroying medium-range ballistic missiles in the near-earth space will become operational in the Russian Armed Forces this year, a source in the country’s defense and industrial sector told TASS on Thursday.
"The state trials of the new standard long-range missile for S-400 systems are planned to be completed no later than May-June, after which it will be put into service," the source said.
"Its main distinction from the missiles currently used by our S-300 and S-400 systems is that it has a ‘clever warhead’ and improved combat characteristics, which enable it to hit medium-range ballistic missiles in the near-earth space," the source said.
The new missile will have a maximum range of 400 km (248.5 miles) similar to the range of the missile recently put into service for S-300V4 ground force air defense systems but "its components base and some other characteristics are better," the source said. "All these factors enable the missile to operate against ballistic missiles at outer space altitudes."
The source gave no exact altitude for the new missile to hit the targets but said "it considerably exceeds the altitude of S-300 missiles, which are currently becoming operational with S-400 systems."
A source in Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed this information to TASS.
Russian Aerospace Defense Force Deputy Commander Maj.-Gen. Kirill Makarov said last week Russia’s Defense Ministry had successfully tested a long-range missile for S-400 air defense systems at a range of slightly less than 400 km. The missile could not be test-fired to its full range due to the limited length of the shooting ground, Makarov said.
When the new missile is put into service, the firing range of S-400 missiles will rise from 250 km to 400 km, the general added.