Russian Defense ministry determines S-350 Vityaz air defense missiles procurement

The procurement time and number of S-350 Vityaz air defense weapons in the coming years have been determined. The launchers are currently supplied to air defense training centers but will be soon be delivered to combat units. Experts believe the deliveries will call for large-scale retraining of the personnel to operate in modern warfare and repel massive strikes by cruise missiles and prospective weapons, the Izvestia daily writes.
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S-350 Vityaz air defense system (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Sources in the Russian Defense Ministry and defense industry said the procurement time of S-350 had been determined. The troops will annually receive at least two-battalion sets until 2027. The sources refused to disclose when deliveries would begin.

Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said in June 2019 the design of the new air defense weapons had been completed. The first set of Vityaz was handed over after trials to the training center in Gatchina in February 2020. Lecturers of the Zhukov Aerospace Academy in Tver are already mastering the new hardware.

The operators are retrained in schools or in combat units, former Air Force Deputy Commander-in-Chief for CIS air defense Lieutenant-General in Reserve Aitech Bizhev said. "Training centers have the necessary hardware to master S-350. The operators will be trained there for close to three months. They train cohesion, combat missions and fire. The men return back to their units after passing all exams," he said.

Rearmed missile regiments already have prepared positions. After the arrival of the new hardware the old launchers undergo a capital overhaul and are stored. The positions and hangars are upgraded, if necessary, the expert said.

The Defense Ministry said S-350 is to operate in the Ground Forces, the Aerospace Forces and the Navy. The first Vityaz will be delivered to the 24th missile brigade of the Central Military District in Abakan. The 388th antiaircraft missile regiment in Achinsk in Siberia will follow suit.

Vityaz is replacing air defense weapons which have exhausted the resource or are morally outdated, former head of the antiaircraft missile troops Alexander Gorkov said. "S-350 was designed for integration into a single air and missile defense. New S-350 battalions and regiments will operate as its component to provide maximum control in combat. It is the most important task to be resolved for Vityaz combat duty. Besides, the launchers have to be installed on prepared positions. They will defend important military or naval garrisons and bases, as well as political, industrial and economic centers of the country," he said.

The personnel has to have everything necessary for everyday activities. If new facilities appear, they will be included in the single air and missile defense. Positions will be built up and conditions created for officers and men, the expert said.

Vityaz was for the first publicly demonstrated in 2013 at MAKS airshow. The design began six years earlier. The full cycle of acceptance trials was completed in 2019. Almaz-Antey enterprises are producing the first serial launchers which had to be demonstrated at the V-E-Day parade in Moscow. It was postponed because of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Izvestia said.

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