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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia to place air and space defenses under unified command in 2011

RIA Novosti

16:04 30/11/2010 MOSCOW, November 30 (RIA Novosti) - Russia must create a unified strategic command combining air, missile and space defenses in 2011, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday.

"Next year we must focus on strengthening our air and space defenses, and combine the existing air defense and missile defense networks, missile early-warning systems and airspace monitoring systems under a unified strategic command," Medvedev said in his annual address to the Federal Assembly.

The Russian political and military leadership have long considered plans to develop strong missile and space defenses by 2020, but no concrete steps have been taken so far and the country does not even have a well-defined command structure to tackle this problem.

According to one proposal, the unified aerospace defense command will absorb some air defense units which are currently part of the Russian Air Force, and Space Forces units.

The Russian military plans to build a comprehensive air and space defense network consisting of S-400 Triumf and future S-500 air defense systems and the Soviet-era MiG-31 Foxhound supersonic interceptors.

The S-500 system is expected to have an extended range of up to 600 km (over 370 miles) and simultaneously engage up to 10 targets. The system will be capable of destroying hypersonic and ballistic targets.

Russia's leading missile manufacturer Almaz-Antei said in March that it was developing at least six types of advanced air defense systems to be available for the Russian military around 2015.

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