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Russia May Set Up New Aerospace Command
Russia's S-400 air-defense system.
Russia's S-400 air-defense system.
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (UPI) Mar 02, 2007
Even if there is no new superpower arms race the United States and Russia are increasingly acting as if there was. Russia must develop powerful new aerospace forces, its top air force general said Monday. Four-star Army General Vladimir Mikhailov made the call the day before Russia's Military-Industrial Commission, which reports directly to President Vladimir Putin, was scheduled to meet discuss the development of Russia's ambitious "fifth-generation" S-400 air-defense system, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

"The meeting, hosted by First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, will be held at the Almaz Science and Production Association, and the participants will discuss the prospects of developing weapons systems that would become part of the future aerospace defense forces," Gen. Mikhailov said.

RIA Novosti also reported that former defense minister Sergei Ivanov, who presided over plans to ambitiously modernize and re-equip Russia's air defense and strategic missile systems, announced Monday that some of the new S-400 Triumf ground-to-air missile systems were already being prepared last year for operational and were expected to be put on alert duty later this year.

"It is a unique system that has no parallels (in the world)," Ivanov said.

RIA Novosti said Ivanov had also said that Russia should focus on pushing ahead with plans for its development of fifth-generation air-defense systems and that it should integrate aspects of its air, missile and space defenses into them.

Last month, Russia announced it had completed deliveries of its not quite as advanced, but still world class, Tor-M1 anti-aircraft missile defense system to Iran.

Russia's leaders have reacted with alarm and anger to the Bush administration's success in persuading Poland and the Czech Republic to allow ballistic missile defense interceptors and radars to be deployed on their territories over the next few years. Some Russian military analysts also expressed concern at the success of China's anti-satellite, or ASAT, weapons test last month.

Gen. Mikhailov's announcement was therefore a signal that Russia appears prepared to make large investments to upgrade its space-based and space-capable military assets and to take major steps to further integrate them.

Source: United Press International

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