Air Defense: Russia Races to Refurb


p> September 27, 2007: Russia is upgrading the electronics for over a thousand medium range (5-30 kilometers) air defense systems. Most of these are mobile, mounted on wheeled or tracked vehicles. These systems are most effective against helicopters and low flying jets. The United States, and most Western air forces, can keep their jets high enough (20,000 feet) to be safe from these systems. Currently, the only low flying American jets are A-10s, and an occasional F-16 coming down for a bit of precision gunnery.

For the last decade, Russian arms industries have been producing largely for the export market. But in the case of anti-aircraft systems, there's a substantial domestic marker. Over half of Russian systems are Cold War relics, and barely worth keeping in working order. Russia apparently sees an export market in countries that are fighting low tech neighbors, not Western air forces. Thus most of the world is a viable market for this stuff, especially if there are exciting interfaces for the operators, and more reliability than found in past generations of Russian gear.

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