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Analysis: Russia continues to develop air defense missile forces Part 1

Until 1998 the Russian antiaircraft missile troops were subordinated to the air and missile defense forces. Today they are a major component of the Russian Aerospace Forces. The latest S-350 Vityaz and Pantsir-SM air defense missile systems participated in the latest Victory Day parade together with traditional S-400 and Pantsir-S guns, the Independent Military Review writes.
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Mobile TEL Transporter Erector Launcher and 92N6A radar of Russian S-400 missile system. (Picture source Belvpo)

The antiaircraft forces defend state and military command bodies, military groupings and important industrial and economic facilities from aerospace attacks.

The realities of modern wars radically changed the range of targets for antiaircraft forces. Besides traditional airplanes, helicopters, cruise missiles, they have to destroy hypersonic weapons and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

The troops have been actively developing of late. The media reported that S-400 and Pantsir air defense missile systems were being supplied and S-500 Prometei was being designed. Two years ago Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Aerospace Forces Lieutenant-General Viktor Gumenny said the share of modern weapons would not be less than 70 percent by January 1, 2021 in the air and missile defense.

The S-400 Triumf, as well as Pantsir will remain the main weapons of the antiaircraft forces in the coming years. The Aerospace Forces operate close to 30 antiaircraft regiments armed with S-400. The Russian Defense Ministry annually receives from Almaz-Antey Corporation at least two battalion sets of the latest air defense system.

The S-400 supplies have been going ahead of schedule in the past several years. In March 2020, Almaz-Antey said it supplied a regimental set of S-400 ahead of schedule. The ceremony was held at Kapustin Yar range in Astrakhan region.

The range of S-400 missiles was expanded two years ago in October 2018. Long-range guided 40N6 missile joined it. It can intercept air and reportedly ballistic targets at a distance of 400 km. Russian press agency TASS said the arms program up to 2027 envisages the procurement of over a thousand of the latest missiles.

All S-400 supplied to the Aerospace Forces are mobile. They are carried by all-terrain MZKT-543M military trucks. All the launcher units are mounted on the automobile instead of the trailer.

By 2011, the Defense Ministry received three towed S-400 regiments deployed in the Moscow region. The launchers were towed by Voshchina BAZ prime movers. By 2016, only towed S-400 participated in parades in Red Square.

Mobile air defense missile systems S-400 were deployed in late 2015 at Humaymim airbase in Syria. The Russian military decided to reinforce the airpower with the latest antiaircraft weapons after Turkey downed a Russian Su-24M frontline bomber. The S-400 were airlifted by An-124 aircraft. The latest photos of the Russian military show the first three regiments of towed S-400 have fully switched to mobile launchers.

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