The Russian Northern Fleet will receive S-350 Vitiaz air defense missile systems. They can travel hundreds of kilometers across the country and immediately engage in combat. They can also be transported by military transport planes and warships.
Battery of the S-350E air defense missile system at the MAKS Russian AirShow in August 2016 (Source photo Army Recognition)
Experts said it takes several hours to deploy S-350 in any part of the Arctic. They will reliably defend the northern sea route and the important strategic direction of the north, writes the daily Izvestia.
The Arctic S-350 option will be provided to air defense units of the United Strategic Command of the Northern Fleet. Defense ministry sources said the decision had been made.
The 45th Air Force and Northern Fleet Defense Force currently has two air defense divisions. The 1st Division defends the Kola Peninsula, Arkhangelsk and Severodvinsk. The 3rd Division controls the airspace to the east. The two formations defend a section of the border with Finland and Norway as far as Wrangel Island. The Pacific Fleet is in charge of the area east of it.
The Soviet Union maintained a strong air defense in the Far North. It was abandoned in the post-Soviet years, said the former deputy commander-in-chief of the CIS air force for air defense, Reserve Lieutenant-General Aitech Bizhev. “Air defense is relaunched because it is important for the country. The shortest distance between the United States and the industrial regions of Russia, the Urals and Siberia is through the North Pole. An intercontinental ballistic missile flies over the ocean for 25 to 30 minutes. NATO has always maintained the most powerful forces in the strategic north and north-west directions. The Soviet army and navy deployed the latest weapons there, ”he said.
The Northern Fleet must also be defended, as its warships and submarines must deliver a retaliatory strike against the adversary. It must be defended until the main forces deploy at sea. Air defense must control the entire northern sea route, as its importance has increased in recent times, the expert said.
S-350 was designed to replace S-300, said former head of anti-aircraft forces Alexander Gorkov. “Vityaz’s electronics are made on a new base of elements to control and attack a large number of targets. Air defense is resistant to jams. The S-350 is distinguished by new launchers. Each carries 12 anti-aircraft missiles against four on S-300. It saves cooldown and speeds up fire. The combat modules are mounted on an all-terrain undercarriage, which makes them extremely mobile and capable of deploying in any location and maneuvering. The S-350 is particularly effective against cruise missiles, ”he said.
Launch unit of the S-300PMU2 long-range air defense missile system at the Russian airshow MAKS. (Image source Army Reconnaissance)
Now, S-300PM-2, S-300PS and S-300PT are operational. S-300PM-2 has been improved in recent times. It received new computer and software elements and was unified with S-400 and S-500 to interact effectively in combat.
The S-300PS and S-300PT were produced in the 1970s-1980s and are obsolete. Their life cycle is coming to an end. It must be decided whether to dispose of them or extend their life cycle, Gorkov said.
S-350 Vitiaz defends administrative, industrial and military installations against massive air raids. It can destroy air targets at a distance of over 120 km and at an altitude of over 30 km. The launcher can operate solo and as part of a group of air, aerospace and ground defense forces under a single command. The system consists of several rolling modules. The electronics have a new element base to increase efficiency.
The operation of the launcher is automatic to the maximum. Electronics control the fight. The crew only monitors the process but can intervene if necessary.
The S-350 fires two types of weapons: the 9M100 short-range missiles with infrared homing head and the 9M96 at medium range. They ensure the destruction of modern and potential ballistic and cruise missiles, fighter jets, drones and strategic bombers. It takes almost five minutes to deploy the launcher after a long walk, the Izvestia said.
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