PRO Anti-Missile Defense
PKO Missile and Space Defense
All the existing Air Defense Systems, including Air Defense Force, Anti-missile Defense Force, the Moscow Anti-rocket Defense Force, the Early Warning against rocket attack system and the space echelon satellites, which monitor missile directions are all to be part of the new Aero-Space Defense Force, created in 2011.
In 1963-1964 the Soviet Troops of Defense (PVO) established two new commands: PRO and PKO (Protivo Kosmicheskoi Oborony). PRO, meaning anti-missile defense [Protivo Raketniya Oborony], was charged with detecting, intercepting, and destroying enemy ballistic rockets, while the PKO, meaning anti-space defense, was responsible for "destroying the enemy's cosmic means of fighting". On Oct. 1, 1992, the PRO and PKO Directorate was restructured into the Command of the Rocket and Space Defense (RKO). Colonel General Smirnov became officially the commander of the RKO forces. In 1997, the RKO forces, along with the Space Forces became the part of the Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN).
Missile and space defenses had been effective arms of the Air Defense Forces since the mid-1960s. In 1989 the Soviet Union had the world's only operational antiballistic missile (ABM) and antisatellite (ASAT) systems.
The Soviet Union deployed its first ABM defense system around Moscow in 1964. It consisted of surface-to-air missiles that could be launched to destroy incoming ballistic missiles. The Soviet leaders have continually upgraded and developed the capabilities of this initial system. A major modernization of interceptor missiles began in the late 1970s, and by 1989 the Soviet Union had up to thirty-two improved SH-04 (Galosh) launchers in operation and a fundamentally new SH-08 (Gazelle) interceptor missile under development.
In 1989 the Radiotechnical Troops operated eleven ground-based radars and numerous satellites to provide strategic early warning of enemy missile launches. They also manned six large phased-array radars for ballistic missile detection. These radars could also serve as target acquisition and tracking radars to guide ABM launchers as part of a nationwide defense against ballistic missiles. In 1989 the Soviet Union was building three additional sites for phased-array radars.
The Soviet Union had an operational ASAT interceptor system that in wartime it would launch a satellite into the same orbit as an opponent's satellite. The ASAT satellite would then maneuver nearby and detonate a conventional fragmentation or a nuclear warhead to destroy its target. Thus, the interceptor system posed a threat to an adversary's command, control, and communications, navigation, reconnaissance, and intelligence gathering satellites in low-earth orbits, a capability that would be critical in wartime.
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