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Russia has launched development of new medium-range missile

Russia has launched the development of new medium-range missile weapons, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on February 5, 2019, during a tele-conference at the National Defense Control Center in Moscow.

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Russia’s Ministry of Defence held a presentation of the new 9M729 medium-range missile, January 23, 2019. (Picture source RT Ruptly video Print Screen)

"In 2019-2020, we are to develop a ground-based modification of the long-range Kalibr (NATO reporting name: SS-N-27 Sizzler) sea-launched cruise missile [SLCM] that has shown strong performance in Syria. We will also create a land-based missile system with a long-range hypersonic missile," said Shoigu.

According to the minister, the development of the new long-range ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) from existing SLCMs and air-launched weapons will allow the industry to reduce terms of the program and its budget. "Moreover, it is important to increase the [firing] range of the GLCM systems that are now being developed," said the minister.

The development of the new hypersonic long-range GLCM was not initially included in the State Armament Program for 2018-2027 (GPV-2027). "I assign Deputy Defense Minister Alexey Krivoruchko with a task to start these works in the shortest time possible within the budgetary limits of the State Defense Order for 2019 and 2020-2021, re-distributing funds in order to the support the new development," said Shoigu.

According to the minister, the preliminary re-distribution plan will be offered in the coming days. It will not suggest any additional financial allocations, Shoigu concluded.

The cancellation of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty will allow Russia to focus on the development of hypersonic GLCMs, a source from the indigenous defense industry said. According to him, the number of the critically important facilities vulnerable to cruise missile strikes "cannot be described as a large one". Moreover, air defense (AD) assets that can effectively engage medium-range and short-range cruise missiles have already been developed. Now sensitive targets can be protected by multi-layer AD systems that are integrated with automated command and control devices and reinforced by fighter jets.

The limited capabilities of modern cruise missile strikes were demonstrated in Syria, when in April 2017 the US military failed to destroy Shairat airbase. Having launched some 60 SLCMs, the US Navy did not accomplish its tasks.

During the cruise missile strike against Syria's abandoned chemical facilities in April 2018, some US subsonic cruise missiles were shot down by outdated AD systems. The Russian Land Forces will therefore pay more specific attention to short- and medium-range hypersonic GLCMs, said the source.

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