Moscow, Jan 14 (UNI) Russian Air Force Commander Col General Alexander Zelin today declared the state-of-the-art air defence missile systems will be initially deployed in central regions of the country.
''The S-400 air defence systems will be primarily deployed in central Russia, and only after that in other regions of the country, when more systems become available,'' Col General Zelin told RIA Novosti news agency.
The S-400 Triumf (SA-21 Growler) air defence system is expected to form the new cornerstone of Russia's theatre air and missile defences up to 2020 or even 2025.
Last year, Russia for the first time deployed an S-400 battalion to protect the airspace around the Moscow, following successfully testfiring the air defence missile complex at the Kapustin Yar firing range in south Russia's Astrakhan region.
The S-400 is designed to intercept and destroy airborne targets at a distance of up to 400 kilometres which is twice the range of the US MIM-104 Patriot, and 2.5 times that of the S-300PMU-2.
The system is equipped to hit and destroy stealth aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, with an effective range of up to 3,500 kilometres and a speed of up to 4.8 kilometres per second.
Former Soviet republic of Belarus has asked Russia to supply its S-400 air defence systems by 2010, Russian media earlier reported quoting a source in the Russian military-industrial circles.
''Belarus submitted a formal request for two S-400 battalions to be made available by 2010,'' the source said.
However, Russian military officials have said S-400 systems will not be exported to any country, including the CIS, in the next few years.
''A decision to export such systems may only be made by the country's top leadership,'' they said.
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