Air Defense: Russia Seeks The High Ground

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April 13, 2012: Last December Russia formed a new service in their armed forces. This was the VKO (Vozdushno Kosmicheskaya Oborona or Aerospace Defense Forces). On the surface this seemed ordinary enough, as the VKO was created by combining the existing air defense forces and the space command. The real shocker was the announcement that the VKO would get 20 percent of the $600 billion being spent on new military equipment for the rest of the decade. Not only was VKO taking all that money for air defense systems and space satellites but it was at the expense of new equipment for tactical (mobile) air defense weapons and electronic monitoring equipment.

The government defended the VKO decision by pointing out that it was crucial to have good intelligence about threats and the ability to counter strategic attacks (by aircraft or missile). So important is this mission that the government is willing to reduce the speed with which the other services (army, navy, air force) will be able to replace their Cold War era weapons and equipment.

 


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