Russian air defense missile system S-350 can be deployed in Arctic region

The Russian Northern fleet will receive S-350 Vityaz air defense missile systems. They can march hundreds of kilometers cross-country and immediately engage in combat. They can be also transported by military transport aircraft and warships.

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Battery of S-350E air defense missile system at MAKS Russian AirShow in August 2016. (Picture source Army Recognition)

Experts said it takes several hours to deploy S-350 in any part of the Arctic. They will reliably defend the Northern Sea Route and the important northern strategic direction, the Izvestia daily writes.

The Arctic S-350 option will be supplied to the air defense units of the united strategic command of the Northern fleet. Defense Ministry sources said the decision had been made.

The 45th air force and defense army of the Northern fleet currently have two air defense divisions. The 1st division defends the Kola Peninsula, Arkhangelsk and Severodvinsk. The 3rd division controls the airspace to the east. Both formations defend a section from the border with Finland and Norway to Wrangel Island. The Pacific fleet is in charge of the zone to the east of it.

The Soviet Union maintained a powerful air defense in the Extreme North. It was scrapped in post-Soviet years, former Air Force Deputy Commander-in-Chief for CIS air defense Lieutenant-General in Reserve Aitech Bizhev said. “The air defense is being revived, as it is important for the country. The shortest distance from the USA to industrial regions of Russia, the Urals and Siberia go via the North Pole. An intercontinental ballistic missile flies over the ocean for 25-30 minutes. NATO has always kept the most powerful forces in the northern and northwestern strategic directions. The Soviet army and the Navy deployed the latest arms there,” he said.

The Northern fleet has also to be defended, as its warships and submarines have to deliver a retaliatory strike to the adversary. It has to be defended until the main forces deploy at sea. The air defense has to control the whole Northern Sea Route, as its significance has been growing of late, the expert said.

S-350 was designed to replace S-300, former head of the antiaircraft forces Alexander Gorkov said. “The electronics of Vityaz are made on a new element base to control and attack a big number of targets. The air defense is jam-resistant. S-350 is distinguished by new launchers. Each carries 12 antiaircraft missiles against four on S-300. It saves recharging time and accelerates fire. Combat modules are mounted on cross-country undercarriage which makes them extremely mobile and capable of deploying in any place and maneuvering. S-350 is specifically effective against cruise missiles,” he said.

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Launcher unit of S-300PMU2 long-range air defense missile system at MAKS Russian AirShow. (Picture source Army Recognition)

At present, S-300PM-2, S-300PS and S-300PT are operational. S-300PM-2 has been upgraded of late. It received new computing elements and software and was unified with S-400 and S-500 to effectively interact in combat.

S-300PS and S-300PT were produced in the 1970-1980s and are outdated. Their life cycle is nearing completion. It has to be decided whether to scrap them or extend the life cycle, Gorkov said.

S-350 Vityaz defends administrative, industrial and military facilities from massive air raids. It can destroy air targets at a distance of over 120 km and an altitude of over 30 km. The launcher can operate solo and within a group of air defense, aerospace and ground forces under a single command. The system comprises several wheeled modules. The electronics have a new element base to increase effectiveness.

The operation of the launcher is automatic to the maximum. The electronics control the combat. The crew only monitors the process but can interfere, if necessary.

The S-350 fires two types of weapons: short-range 9M100 missiles with an infrared homing warhead and medium-range 9M96. They guarantee the destruction of modern and prospective ballistic and cruise missiles, fighter jets, drones and strategic bombers. It takes close to five minutes to deploy the launcher after a long march, the Izvestia said.

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