Russia to Field Long-Range Antimissile Units in Border Regions

Russia intends to deploy multiple long-range S-400 Triumph antimissile systems in its border zones this year, RIA Novosti reported on Tuesday (see GSN, Feb. 14).

"The Russian armed forces will receive several S-400 air defense systems this year,” air force commander Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin said on Monday. “This time they will be deployed in air-defense units guarding (Russia’s) border regions.”

There are already two S-400 air and missile defense regiments guarding the skies surrounding the Russian capital.

Zelin did not disclose where on Russia's borders the S-400 systems would be fielded. It is thought that select units would be fielded in the Kaliningrad region, which borders two NATO states.

Moscow has promised to deploy air-defense armaments in the Russian exclave, potentially along with short-range Iskander missiles, if a compromise is not reached with NATO and the United States on their plans to construct a ballistic missile shield for Europe. The Kremlin fears the alliance's missile defense plans are aimed at undermining its strategic nuclear deterrent (RIA Novosti, Feb. 14).

The Western antimissile plans focus on the gradual deployment through 2020 of increasingly advanced U.S. missile interceptors on sea and land as a stated hedge against a possible missile attack launched from the Middle East. Poland and Romania have agreed to host land-based interceptors, while Aegis-equipped ships would dock in Spain. A long-range radar station has already been established in Turkey.

"We are closely watching the creation of the U.S. missile defense network and see the deployment of interceptor missiles in Poland and Romania as the final phase of the program," Russian General Staff chief. Gen. Nikolai Makarov said on Tuesday in an ITAR-Tass report.

"We will build our own missile defense system. We will implement the plans in the Kaliningrad region and other areas," he continued (see GSN, Jan. 26).

NATO has said it expects to announce in May a preliminary ballistic missile defense capability for Europe. That system would be comprised of the X-band radar in Turkey and Standard Missile 3 interceptors deployed on the Aegis-equipped USS Monterey, which is presently in the Mediterranean (see GSN, Feb. 3).

"So far the systems deployed in Europe do not stretch beyond Russian borders," Makarov said.

Future-generation U.S. interceptors, though, could be able to enter Russian airspace. Moscow has been engaged in missile defense talks with Washington and Brussels for more than a year but the sides have yet to resolve disputes that obstruct hopes for collaboration.

"Unfortunately, we have not received a single answer to our proposals and questions from our NATO partners concerning missile defense. The U.S. dictates its will and creates its missile defense," Makarov complained (ITAR-Tass, Feb. 14).

In the event that Aegis-equipped U.S. warships sail into the Black Sea or Barents seas, "we have envisioned special sectors within the current state armaments program" to meet that threat, the general said to journalists (Interfax, Feb. 14).

February 15, 2012

Russia intends to deploy multiple long-range S-400 Triumph antimissile systems in its border zones this year, RIA Novosti reported on Tuesday.