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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

S-400 missile defense systems to start defending Moscow July 1

RIA Novosti

21/05/2007 14:00 MOSCOW, May 21 (RIA Novosti) - S-400 missile defense systems will be put on combat duty around Moscow July 1, the commander of the Russian Air Force said Monday.

The S-400 Triumf (NATO codename SA-21 Growler) is a new air defense missile system developed by the Almaz Central Design Bureau as an upgrade of the S-300 family.

"On July 1, one battalion of S-400 missile defense systems will be put on combat duty to defend the airspace of Moscow and Central Russia," Colonel-General Alexander Zelin said.

Zelin said the battalion is at an Air Force range, and after range practice, the battalion, based in the Moscow Region town of Elektrostal, east of the capital, will go on active duty.

It has been designed to intercept and destroy airborne targets at a distance of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles), or twice the range of the MIM-104 Patriot, and 2.5 times that of the S-300PMU-2.

In April, Colonel-General Yury Solovyov, commander of the Air Defense Forces Special Command (former Moscow Military District Air Defense Command), said the system could also be used for limited purposes in missile and space defense, but that it is not intended to destroy intercontinental ballistic missiles.

However, he said the system is highly capable of destroying stealth aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles with an effective range of up to 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) and a speed of up to 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) per second.

The Russian Air Defense Forces, which are part of the Air Force, currently deploy more than 30 regiments equipped with S-300 missile complexes, which will be gradually replaced with S-400 systems.

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