Russia unveils air defence, eyes U.S. missile shield

Russia unveiled a new air defence system on Monday that its designers say will be used as the basis of a new generation of Russian missile-intercepting weapons. Russian television stations gave wide coverage to the deployment of the S-400 air defence system, a modernised version of a Soviet-designed surface-to-air missile unit. "The real effectiveness of this complex is its ability to destroy ballistic targets, ballistic missiles, aerodynamic targets," Vadim Volkovitsky, deputy air force commander in charge of anti-aircraft defence, told NTV television. "So not only the functions of air defence but also anti-missile defence," he said. Russia has been bickering with the United States over Washington's plans to deploy elements of an anti-missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. The United States says the shield is intended to defend against missiles from "rogue states" such as Iran and North Korea and that it could not defeat Russia's giant nuclear arsenal. But President Vladimir Putin says the shield would hurt Russia's interests and Russian generals have said Moscow will develop its own anti-missile defence shield in retaliation. The Vremya Novostei newspaper reported that the S-400 would be used as a basis for a Russian anti-missile defence system. The designers of the S-400 Triumf said they were already working on a mobile anti-missile defence system. "Our next task is a system called the S-500, an anti-missile system, a mobile anti-missile defence system, a fifth generation system as one element of Russia's unified system of anti-missile defence," said Igor Ashurbeili, general director of the Almaz design bureau. A Russian Orthodox priest was shown on television blessing the new weapons at a deployment ceremony in the city of Elekrostal in greater Moscow. The systems will initially defend Moscow and central Russia. The S-400 can destroy targets travelling at up to 5 km per second, including aircraft and medium-range ballistic missiles, though not intercontinental missiles, which travel too fast. It has a range of up to 400 km.


S-400 missile defense systems to start defending Moscow July 1

S-400 missile defense systems will be put on combat duty around Moscow July 1, the commander of the Russian Air Force said Monday. The S-400 Triumf (NATO codename SA-21 Growler) is a new air defense missile system developed by the Almaz Central Design Bureau as an upgrade of the S-300 family. "On July 1, one battalion of S-400 missile defense systems will be put on combat duty to defend the airspace of Moscow and Central Russia," Colonel-General Alexander Zelin said. Zelin said the battalion is at an Air Force range, and after range practice, the battalion, based in the Moscow Region town of Elektrostal, east of the capital, will go on active duty. It has been designed to intercept and destroy airborne targets at a distance of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles), or twice the range of the MIM-104 Patriot, and 2.5 times that of the S-300PMU-2. In April, Colonel-General Yury Solovyov, commander of the Air Defense Forces Special Command (former Moscow Military District Air Defense Command), said the system could also be used for limited purposes in missile and space defense, but that it is not intended to destroy intercontinental ballistic missiles. However, he said the system is highly capable of destroying stealth aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles with an effective range of up to 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) and a speed of up to 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) per second. The Russian Air Defense Forces, which are part of the Air Force, currently deploy more than 30 regiments equipped with S-300 missile complexes, which will be gradually replaced with S-400 systems.


S-400 Triumph

The missile was launched without a hitch in the closed control loop at 12.25 Moscow time and engaged its target precisely at the desired point. The main objective of these tests was the functional check of new electronic equipment and software at the ground facilities, as well as the evaluation of missile guidance efficiency. The Triumph's leading developer is the Almaz Central Design Bureau. According to Alexander Lemansky, General Designer of the Bureau, the comprehensive manufacturer's tests of the new-generation air defense missile system have demonstrated that it possesses considerably higher performance qualities in terms of the engagement envelope, effectiveness, and a variety of potential targets than was available with the previous generation systems. This phase of the preliminary design tests is scheduled to be completed by late 1999, A. Lemansky stressed.

The S-400 system is intended to engage current and future air threats such as tactical and strategic aircraft, Tomahawk cruise missiles and other type missiles, including precision-guided ones, as well as AWACS aircraft, at ranges of up to 400 km. It can also detect stealth aircraft and other targets at all altitudes of their combat employment and at maximum ranges. Air Force Colonel General Anatoly Kornukov, Air Force Commander-in-Chief, characterizes the Triumph air defense system as a fourth-generation system with a brilliant future because its components are based on the most advanced know-how in the field of radiolocation, missile manufacturing, microcircuitry and computing technology.

Work on the development of the S-400 air defense missile system is a visible embodiment of cooperation among weapon developers. Besides the Almaz Central Design Bureau, these include leading enterprises of the Russian defense industry, such as the Fakel Machine-Building Design Bureau, the Novosibirsk Research Institute of Measuring Instruments, the St. Petersburg Special Machine-Building Design Bureau, and a number of others. General Designer Vladimir Svetlov, head of the Fakel Bureau-the leading developer of missiles for the S-400 systems-underlines that the Triumph is the first system in the country and, perhaps, in the world that can selectively use several types of missiles, both previously developed SAMs and the new, unique SAMs.

"The long-range missile," Vladimir Svetlov says, "has no analogs. The other missile, the 9M96, does have foreign counterparts, such as an advanced American missile for the PAC-3 Patriot system, but outperforms it, as well as the French Aster, in terms of overall effectiveness by approximately twofold." The two versions of the 9M96 medium-range missile (9M96E and 9M96E2) were discussed in detail in the March/Apr '99 issue of Military Parade. As for long-range missiles capable of engaging various targets at ranges of up to 400 km, It is premature to describe them, let us only note here that they are available and ready for trials.The Triumph air defense system can also use 48N6E missiles of the S-300PMU-1 system and 48N6E2 missiles of the S-300PMU-2 Favorit system. Incidentally, the 48N6E missile was successfully test-fired on February 12, 1999.

A high degree of automation at all phases of battle performance, as well as modern types of circuitry, has made it possible to considerably reduce the attending personnel of the S-400 air defense system. The principles of construction and the ramified communications network of the S-400 system allow its integration into different level chains of control throughout the Air Force and other armed services. The arrival of the Russian Federation Defense Minister, Igor Sergeyev, at the test site is indicative of the importance of the next phase of Triumph trials. He told journalists that it was too early to sum up the results before the commencement of the state tests. However, it is expedient, in his opinion, to make investments into the development of the S-400 air defense system because in terms of the effectiveness-cost ratio it is 2.5 times more proficient than the now-functioning systems.


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Arevordi will be taking a sabbatical to tend to personal matters. New blog commentaries will henceforth be posted on an irregular basis. The comments board however will continue to be moderated on a regular basis.

The last 20 years or so has also helped me see Russia as the last front against scourges of Westernization, Globalism, American expansionism, Zionism, Islamic extremism and pan-Turkism. I have also come to see Russia as the last hope humanity has for the preservation of classical western civilization, Apostolic Christianity and the traditional nation-state. This realization compelled me to create this blog in 2010. Immediately, this blog became one of the very few voices in the vastness of cyberia that dared to preach about the dangers of Globalism and the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance, and the only voice preaching the strategic importance of Armenia remaining within Russia's orbit. From about 2010 to 2015 I did monthly, at times weekly, commentaries about Russian-Armenian relations and Eurasian geopolitics in general. It was very difficult as I had no assistance in this endeavor. The time I put into this blog therefore came at the expense of work and family. But a powerful feeling inside me urged me to keep going; and I did.

When Armenia finally joined the EEU and integrated its armed forces into Russia's military structures a couple of years ago, I finally felt a deep sense of satisfaction and relaxation, as if a very heavy burden was lifted off my shoulders. I finally felt that my personal mission was accomplished. I therefore felt I could take a step back, as I really needed the rest. Simply put: I have lived to see the institutionalization of Russian-Armenian alliance. Also, I feel more confident now that Armenians are collectively recognizing the strategic importance of Armenia's ties with Russia. Moreover, I feel satisfied knowing that, at least on a subatomic level, I had a hand in the outcome. As a result, I feel a strong sense of mission accomplished. I therefore no longer have the urge to continue as in the past. In other words, the motivational force that had propelled me in previous years has been gradually dissipating because I feel that this blog has lived to see the realization of its stated goal. Going forward, I do not want to write merely for the sake of writing. Also, I do not want to say something if I have nothing important to say. I feel like I have said everything I needed to say. Henceforth, I will post seasonal commentaries about topics I find important. I will however continue moderating the blog's comments section on a regular basis; ultimately because I'm interested in what my readers have to say and also because it's through readers here that I am at times made aware of interesting developments.

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