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March 4 saw the 55th anniversary of the first successful anti-ballistic missile intercept performed by a Soviet defensive system, the Sistema A, which used the V-1000 anti-missile equipped with a conventional blast-fragmentation warhead, to destroy the warhead launched by an R-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile.
Russian defense industry has not been sitting still in the face of NATO ABM expansion. Long-range air defense systems like the S-300, S-400, and the upcoming S-500 have considerable ability to destroy ballistic threats, though none of them have been tested against the extremely fast ICBM re-entry vehicles which are far harder to defeat than short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
Moreover, Russia is working on the successor to A-135, the A-235 which will likewise use multiple types of missiles to provide an ability to destroy incoming warheads at long ranges and at extremely high altitudes bordering on orbital.
Whether or not such deployments ever take place largely depends on the future course of Russia-NATO relations. The only reason the ABM Treaty was ever signed and ratified was USSR’s demonstrated ability to deploy effective ABM systems.
US withdrawal from that treaty was driven by its leaders’ arrogant assumption that the US could launch a new nuclear arms race with no country able to counter it.
Once Russia demonstrates its ability to field the next-generation of strategic anti-ballistic systems, we may the world’s great powers once again return to the negotiating table.