MOSCOW - Russia's defence ministry plans to deploy in 2017 a sophisticated new air missile defence system that can hit targets in space, a senior ministry source told Russian news agencies on Friday.
"The promising S-500 air defence missile system is at the development stage. It's planned to be deployed in 2017," the source was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
The long-range system will be able to destroy targets even if they are in space and cover the whole Russian territory, the source added.
Russia is developing more and more effective missile defence systems for use as a deterrent while opposing plans by the United States to build a missile defence shield in Europe.
Russia says its most advanced anti-aircraft and anti-missile system currently in use, the S-400 Triumph, has a range of 400 kilometres.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said last year that Russia's armed forces would acquire around 28 S-400s over the following decade.
Russia has declined to cancel hugely controversial contracts to supply Syria with four of its powerful S-300 air defence missile systems, a deal that has sparked international concern.
Putin in June praised the S-300s as the best such systems in the world and said Russia had not yet delivered the systems to Syria to avoid changing the balance of power in the region.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Izvestia pro-Kremlin daily on Monday that all Syria's contracts with Russia were being fulfilled.