Russian Deployment of Missile Defenses Hidden in Plain Sight

Despite its incessant propaganda against U.S. ballistic missile defense efforts, Russia is building a unified “aerospace defense” system aimed at intercepting U.S. ballistic missiles.

Russia is now pressing for a legally binding commitment by the U.S. that would limit our missiles defenses. Furthermore, Russia is demanding a veto on U.S. deployment decisions. Indeed, as General Nikolai Makarov stated, “The main condition for joint work [in the area of missile defense] should be the permanent participation of Russian experts in drafting the European missile defense architecture.”

Moreover, Russia’s effort to build an aerospace defense system began far before the 2002 U.S. decision to deploy very limited missile defenses. As Colonel-General Boris Cheltsov of the Academy of Military Sciences, Aerospace Defense Department Chief, revealed: “Back in 1994, the first Russian Federation’s Aerospace Defense project came about. In 2006, the Russian president [Putin] has approved the Conception for the Creation of the Aerospace Defense System.” As a result of the 2006 decision, according to Colonel-General Cheltsov, and after President Putin approved the Russian Federation Aerospace Defense Construction Blueprint 6, work began to be conducted on the development of a real-time data transmission system, on active antenna arrays and on fundamentally new detection, reconnaissance and weapon systems, including systems based upon “new physical principles.”

In February 2007, then-Russian Air Force Commander-in-Chief Colonel-General Vladimir Mikhailov declared that Russian missile defense was “no less effective” than U.S. missile defense. By December 2011, Russia formally created a new branch of service in the Russian military, the Aerospace Defense Command. It integrated the space troops (which run Russia’s missile detection capability) with the missile defense and air defense forces. Lieutenant-General Oleg Ostapenko, the Aerospace Defense Troops commander, lists one of main functions of the Aerospace Defense forces as: “Destroying ICBM and SLBM warheads and destroying or functionally suppressing enemy military spacecraft.”

Russia’s then-Chief of the General Staff, General Makarov, announced that in 2011 Russia would take the first steps toward the deployment of an “impenetrable” missile defense by 2020. This is an exaggeration, but Russia plans thousands of S-400 and S-500 missile defense systems by 2020. The S-400 is designed to defend against medium range missiles, while the S-500 is being designed against ICBMs, SLBMs and hypersonic missiles. In 2011, the Deputy Commander of the Russian Surface-to-Air Missiles, Major-General Sergey Popov, said, “The task of destroying intercontinental ballistic missiles will [be] set for the Russian air force starting from 2015.” At the time of this statement, this was the reported date of initial operating capability (IOC) for the S-500.

Both the S-400 and 500 are also capable of intercepting bombers and cruise missiles, and Russian air defenses are also being upgraded with advanced aircraft and anti-stealth low frequency radars.

Implications of Russian Missile Defenses

Russia could have a capability to intercept a substantially larger number of U.S. warheads than the U.S. missile defense system could intercept against from a Russian attack.

The simple reason is that the U.S. system is not being designed against a sophisticated missile threat, such as that posed by Russia, while the Russian system is clearly designed to defend against the United States, despite inferior Russian technology.

Full article: Russian Deployment of Missile Defenses Hidden in Plain Sight (Gatestone Institute)

Comments are closed.