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Air Defense: Here Comes The 16th Air Defense Army
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May 1, 2008:  Russia is converting its 16th Air Army to the 16th Air Defense Army over the next year. The new organization will be responsible for keeping smart bombs away from vital targets in Russia. Or at least that's how government officials describe the effort. To that end, Russia is buying and deploying S-400 missiles systems around vital areas.


Last Summer, the first S400 battalion (eight launchers, each with four missiles, plus a control center and radar, around Moscow) officially became operational. A second battalion will be deployed in the same area later this year. The Russians claim that this  new system can detect stealth aircraft, implying that the hypothetical enemy is the United States.


Russia also claims the S-400 can knock down short range ballistic missiles (those with a reentry speed of up to 5,000 meters a second, in the same way the similar U.S. Patriot system does.) S-400 has a longer range (at 400 kilometers) than Patriot (70 kilometers). Export efforts are hobbled by a  lack of combat experience for the system. Patriot has knocked down aircraft and ballistic missiles, S-400 has not. Moreover, Russia anti-aircraft missile systems in general have a spotty history (especially when confronted by Western electronic countermeasures.) But Russia is already touting a new, S500 system, that can knock down longer range ballistic missiles (with higher reentry speeds) and stealth aircraft. The missiles around Moscow are part of a project to rebuild the Soviet era air defense system, which has fallen apart since the early 1990s. The new system will be completed in about eight years. The S-500 will be available before that.


Belarus, the only satellite state Russia still has, wants to buy the S-400. Russia is prepared to help finance this, as such a system would be integrated into Russias air defense system, providing more depth against attacks from the west.


At the end of the Cold War, Russia still had hundreds of launchers equipped with a mix of relatively new, and sometimes ancient (over 20 years old) missiles. These were not maintained during the 1990s, and largely fell into an inoperable state. It will cost several billion dollars to achieve even a minimal state of air defense coverage over most of European Russia.


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flyingarty    Air defense   5/1/2008 12:03:23 PM
yeah cause all of there stuff works so good....Flyingarty
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Gor       5/1/2008 7:43:18 PM
Didn't the US & the Israelis show how useless the Soviet/Russian developed air defense systems are against a compentent military?
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Yimmy       5/1/2008 8:34:03 PM
In the 1973 Arab Israeli conflict the Egyptian air defences actually did remarkably well.  While the Soviet Union wasn't known for exporting its best equipment.
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Captain Slog       5/2/2008 12:11:31 PM
I think perhaps the IAF was overconfident in 1973, still basking in the glory of the 6 day war. Remember the whole IDF was somewhast taken by surprise. From what I remember, once the IAF had developed better SEAD tactics (maybe they got tips from US F4G crews who performed SEAD and Iron Hand missions in 'Nam?) they scored a lot better against the SAMs. (even basic stuff like hit the radar and command vehicles first, pick of the launchers at leisure, has to be figured out, obvious as it seems to us now.
As for Russian SAMs since then? I remember thinking they might be better just blind firing salvo's of the things with proximity fuses than just wait around for the Weasels or AH64's to come get them. Must be a real fun job waiting for that ARM with your name on it.
Then again, have western designed systems been given much of a test anyway?  They certainly have not had to deal with any kind of elite defence supression squadron going after them that I can recall, who can say with certainty they would have performed any better?
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