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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia completes trials of new surface-to-air missile

RIA Novosti

17:47 16/12/2009 MOSCOW, December 16 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has completed preliminary testing of a long-term interceptor missile for the advanced S-400 missile-defense system, the chief of the Almaz-Antei design bureau said on Wednesday.

Igor Ashurbeili said the trials had been completed in November and there were no problems with the new missile.

He also said all elements of Russia's unified missile defense system, including the advanced S-500 surface-to-air missile, will be in place by 2015.

It was not entirely clear how the new missile would be different from the one currently used in the S-400 Triumf system.

At present, Russia has two S-400 battalions, and Air Force commander Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin said in late November another five air-defense battalions equipped with S-400 Triumf systems would be deployed next year.

Gen. Nikolai Makarov, the chief of General Staff, said in August Russia had deployed S-400 air-defense systems in the Far East to counter the potential threat posed by North Korea's missile tests.

However, his statement has not been confirmed to date. Some military commentators have suggested the general "jumped the gun" and "was trying to pass off his wishful thinking for reality."

The S-400 Triumf (SA-21 Growler) is designed to intercept and effectively engage airborne targets, including stealth aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, at ranges of up to 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) and speeds of up to 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) per second.

A standard S-400 battalion comprises at least eight launchers with 32 missiles and a mobile command post, according to various sources. The new state arms procurement program through 2015 stipulates the purchase of enough S-400 air defense systems to arm 18 battalions during this period.

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