Russia testfires short-range interceptor missile

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Moscow, Oct 30 (UNI) Russia today successfully testfired a short-range anti-ballistic missile at a test site in Kazakhstan.

''A combined team of Russian Strategic Missile Forces, Space Forces and industry experts test fired a short-range missile interceptor today at 11:00 am (1330 hrs IST) from the Sary Shagan testing site in Kazakhstan,'' spokesman for the Strategic Missile Force (SMF) Col Alexander Vovk told Russian news agencies.

He said the launch had been conducted to test the performance characteristics and extend the service life of missiles used as part of the national missile defence system.

The latest test was the 43rd launch of this type of interceptor missile since 1983. The previous launch from Sary-Shagan was conducted on October 11 to assess the possibility of extending the service life of interceptor missiles on combat duty around here.

According to media reports, at least 68 short-range A-135 interceptors (NATO code-name Gazelle) are currently deployed in the missile defence system here to protect radars and strategically important infrastructure.

The Gazelle, with an effective range of up to 80 km is similar in design and mission to the Sprint missile of the US Safeguard system.

Last Friday, the SMF announced they would conduct five launches of inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBM) by the end of 2007.

The SMF commander Col Gen Nikolai Solovtsov said seven ICBM launches had been conducted so far in 2007 to test the performance of a new RS-24 missile with multiple warheads, extend the service life of RS-18 and RS-25 missiles and to lift payloads into orbit.

The Sary Shagan testing site on the west bank of Lake Balkhash in Kazakhstan has been operational since October 1958.

In recent years, the Russian Strategic Missile Forces conducted tests of six anti-missile systems, 12 air defence systems, seven types of missile interceptors, 12 types of ground-to-air missiles and 18 radars at the site, RIA Novosti said.


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