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Russia to begin large-scale rearmament of ground air defense

The air defense of the Russian ground forces is moving to a uniform standard. The armed forces will begin large-scale replacement of outdated air defense weapons in 2022. The Defense Ministry has ordered large-scale Standard R&D. It will design a new line of antiaircraft weapons and engagement concept for air defense units. New weapons have to be uniform and standard to the maximum. They will be united into a single integrated system to increase efficiency. The ministry appropriated nearly half a billion rubles only for R&D. Experts believe the upgraded air defense will increase the potential of the Ground Forces, the Izvestia daily writes.

Russia to begin large scale rearmament of ground air defense2
Buk-3M medium-range air defense system (Picture source: Russian MoD)

The Defense Ministry told the newspaper it ordered the Standard R&D to "research inter-arm development problems and upgrade normative and technical provision for the creation of armaments and hardware." The project costs 422 million rubles. The preliminary option for air defense modernization is to be submitted in 2020 and the final one in 2022. R&D will be the first stage of the modernization program. At the second stage the ministry will order to design new hardware and test it.

All ground air defense weapons from manpads to S-300 have to be upgraded, unified and united into a single contour. The approach demands to change the engagement strategy of army air defense. Previously each complex operated as an independent unit. Now the air shield for tanks, infantry and artillery will be provided by all antiaircraft missiles integrated into a single entity.

A new line of air defense weapons is to appear in future. They will have a single radio-technical complex and other electronic components. Compatible missiles will be provided. The program is to develop a series of radars and an automatic control system. The new hardware will process radar data real time. The approach will help the artificial intellect analyze the air situation and provide recommendation for engagement of various weapons.

The new air defense weapons can form several defense lines operating under a single command. It will increase the efficiency of all air defense arms operating at high, medium and low altitudes. The integration will guarantee the destruction of aircraft, small drones, salvo fire projectiles and repel massive cruise and ballistic missile strikes. It is important that the number of air defense systems will decrease. The program calls to gradually abandon all outdated hardware, in particular, small and medium-range Shilka, Tunguska and Tor, as well as first modifications of medium-range air defense weapons up to Buk-M2. The first modifications of long-range S-300 will also be decommissioned. Buk-3M will remain operational but will be seriously upgraded. The troops will keep S-300V and S-300VM after the necessary improvements.

The unification of ground air defense is a timely decision which will simplify the production, operation and training, former head of the antiaircraft missile forces Lieutenant-General Alexander Gorkov said. "They have been trying to resolve the problem of different kinds of army air defense for long. Air defense at various tactical levels from a division to an army differ by engagement method. The arms and hardware are not uniform and have different element base. It decreases the efficiency of their joint engagement. The upcoming unification will form joint air defense groups depending on the missions," he said.

The air defense of the ground forces has to protect army formations from adversary aircraft and cruise missiles. Its share of modern weapons exceeds 35 percent, the Izvestia said.


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