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Initial Russia S-400 Interceptor Launches Scheduled for August

Initial live-fire trials of Russia's S-400 antimissile unit are set to be carried out by the country's aerospace defense forces over a one-week period starting on Aug. 10, RIA Novosti reported on Saturday (see GSN, June 29).

"The first tactical exercises will take place at the Ashuluk range from Aug. 10-16 involving the force's S-400 systems and also the gun-missile Pantsir-C system in live firing," Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Col. Dmitry Zenin stated.

The trial site in Russia's Astrakhan region would host a pair of S-400 batteries from the Dmitrov district near the Russian capital, Zenin added.

A high-level air force officer this week said four aerospace forces battalions had received the S-400 system and another would obtain the equipment before January. The S-400 is intended to take down medium-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and other airborne threats, according to the report (RIA Novosti, July 14).

Meanwhile, Russian ground forces head Col. Gen. Vladimir Chirkin on Monday said his country would begin to use tires in place of continuous tracks on certain mobile antimissile units and other movable gear, ITAR-Tass reported.

“The leadership of the Defense Ministry has made the decision to put most of the armored vehicles on wheels. We are starting a [research and development] project to design wheel-based weapons,” Chirkin said. “Self-propelled artillery systems, missile defense systems and light tanks will be put on wheels shortly" (ITAR-Tass, July 16).

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