Russia Tests ‘Missile Defense Killer’

Kapustin Yar testing site (archive)

MOSCOW, June 7 (RIA Novosti) – The US missile defense system is no match for the new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that Russia tested this week, a senior Russian official said Friday.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the defense industry, hailed Thursday’s tests as a success and dubbed the new ICBM a “missile defense killer.”

“Neither current nor future American missile defense systems will be able to prevent that missile from hitting a target dead on,” he said, during an event organized by the ruling United Russia party.

The Russian Defense Ministry was more modest in its appraisal of the test, carried out by the Strategic Missile Forces at the Kapustin Yar testing site, between Volgograd and Astrakhan, on Thursday.

“The test launch was a success as the [simulated] warhead hit a designated target within the set time frame,” said a Defense Ministry statement issued Thursday.

The US missile defense system in Europe, which NATO and the US say is aimed at countering threats from North Korea and Iran, has been a particular source of friction in US-Russian relations for a number of years.

Russia and NATO formally agreed to cooperate over the European missile defense system at the 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon, but talks foundered, in part over Russian demands for legal guarantees that the system would not target its strategic nuclear deterrent.

In mid-March, the US announced that it was modifying its planned missile defense deployment to Poland, dropping plans to station SM-3 IIB interceptors in the country by 2022.

Russian officials responded by saying that this did nothing to allay their concerns over US missile defense in Eastern Europe, and reiterated their demand for legally binding agreements guaranteeing that Russia’s strategic nuclear forces would not be targeted.

Although analysts were quick to interpret the US change in plan as a concession to Russia, possibly intended to pave the way for further bilateral talks on nuclear arms reduction, US officials repeatedly refuted this suggestion.

Speaking after a bilateral meeting with the Polish foreign minister on Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry stressed the United States’ continued commitment to that element of the missile defense system.

“We are on track to deploy a missile defense site in Poland by 2018 as part of NATO’s modernized approach to our security,” Kerry said.

Russia to Launch New Spy Satellite in June

slv

The Russian military will launch a new reconnaissance satellite from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia on June 8, a space industry source said.

“A Russian military satellite will be launched on board a Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket from the Plesetsk launch site on June 8,” the source, who asked to remain anonymous, told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

According to previous reports, the satellite is the second in the new Persona series of electro-optical reconnaissance satellites based on the Resurs DK remote sensing satellite.

The first Persona satellite (Kosmos 2441) was launched onto a sun synchronous orbit in July 2008 but reportedly malfunctioned in February 2009 due to a failure in electronic components.

Russia operates a network of about 60-70 military reconnaissance satellites, featuring updated imaging technology and an extended lifetime of up to seven years, according to open sources.

Russia to Get New ICBM Later this Year

RS-24 Yars ballistic missiles

MOSCOW, April 18 (RIA Novosti) – The first modernized intercontinental ballistic missile, Yars-M, will enter service with Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN) later this year, RVSN Commander Col. Gen. Sergei Karavayev said on Thursday.

A defense industry source previously told RIA Novosti the Armed Forces will take delivery of a fifth-generation Yars-M missile before the end of the current year.

Karavayev declined to provide any details, including the missile’s specifications.

The existing RS-24 Yars (NATO reporting name, SS-29) is a MIRV’ed ICBM that is heavier than the Topol-M (SS-27 Stalin) and can carry up to 10 independently targetable warheads.

The RVSN previously said that the Topol-M and RS-24 ballistic missiles will be the mainstay of the ground-based component of Russia’s nuclear triad and would account for no less than 80 percent of the RVSN’s arsenal by 2016.

Karavayev also said the Tatishchevo RVSN Division, near the city of Saratov in southwestern Russia, at present has 60 Topol-M missile systems.

The Topol-M missile, with a range of about 7,000 miles (11,000 km), is said to be immune to any current and planned US antiballistic missile defense. It is capable of making evasive maneuvers, and carries targeting countermeasures and decoys.

By 2020, the RVSN are expected to be equipped with over 170 Topol-Ms (mobile and silo-based), as well as 30 SS-19 and 108 RS-24 missile defense systems in nine divisions.

India’s Russian-Built Frigate Completes Sea Trials

The Trikand frigate (archive)

MOSCOW, April 17 (RIA Novosti) – The last in a series of three frigates that Russia is building for India at the Yantar shipyard in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad has completed sea trials, a shipyard spokesman said on Wednesday.

The Trikand frigate carried out workup trials on March 14 and was cleared for final state trials on April 4, which started on April 8, spokesman Sergei Mikhailov said.

Earlier on Wednesday the frigate effectively engaged a target flying at 50 meters above the sea level with its surface-to-air missile system, he added.

The frigate’s Indian crew are to complete their onboard training practice within the next several days and after that it will return to the shipyard for a final inspection.

The frigate is due to be handed over to the Indian Navy this June, Mikhailov said.

Russia and India signed a $1.6 billion contract on the construction of three modified Krivak III class (also known as Talwar class) guided missile frigates for India in 2006.

The first frigate, INS Teg, joined the Indian Navy on April 27, 2012, and the second, The Tarkash, arrived at the port of Mumbai in India on December 30, 2012.

The frigates are each armed with eight BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles.

They are also equipped with a 100-mm gun, a Shtil surface-to-air missile system, two Kashtan air-defense gun/missile systems, two twin 533-mm torpedo launchers and an antisubmarine warfare (ASW) helicopter.

 

Russia to Lay Keel for 4th Project 11356 Frigate

yantar shipyard

MOSCOW, April 15 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Navy’s fourth Project 11356 frigate will have its keel laid on Thursday, the Yantar shipyard said on Monday.

The start of construction work on the Admiral Butakov frigate was postponed in October 2012.

The Kaliningrad-based shipyard is to build a total of six Project 11356 frigates under a contract with the Defense Ministry.

The lead warship in the series, the Admiral Grigorovich, was laid down in December 2010, the second, the Admiral Essen, in July 2011 and the third, the Admiral Makarov, in February 2012.

The shipyard is to hand over the six warships to the Navy between 2014 and 2016.

Project 11356 frigates are designed for anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare on the high seas, and for anti-aircraft operations, both independently and as an escort ship. The vessels are armed with strike anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles, gun mounts, torpedoes and bombs, according to navaltoday.com.

Russia to Base French-Made Assault Ships in Far East Ports

mistral-class

MOSCOW, April 16 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will base its French-made Mistral-class amphibious assault ships in the Far East ports of Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky when they enter service, a senior Defense Ministry official said in an interview.

Russia signed a 1.2-billion euro deal with a French shipyard in 2011 for two Mistral-class ships, the first of which is due for delivery in 2014 and the second in 2015.

“There are several options [for their location], but the choice fell on Vladivostok due to its existing transport infrastructure,” Roman Filimonov, head of the Defense Ministry’s construction department, told RIA Novosti.

“In future, we should create conditions for a short-term base equipped for storage replenishing, loading and unloading troops and crew rest in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky,” Filimonov said. Other possible bases for the ships are still being considered, he added. A navy spokesman told RIA Novosti in 2011 one of the ships could be based with Russia’s Northern Fleet.

Filimonov said the necessary infrastructure for the two ships is due to be built in the Primorsky Krai by 2015.

He also noted it is more convenient to dock the ships near major cities to provide housing for the crew and their families. The Mistral-class is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, 70 armored vehicles, and 450 personnel.

Procurement of the Mistral-class ships has been the subject of considerable controversy within the defense community in Russia. In January this year, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin criticized the decision to buy the ships after it was revealed they needed high-grade fuels and lubricants which were not produced in Russia in order to operate in cold temperatures.

Russian Air Force Approves New Bomber Design

Blackjack

MOSCOW, April 11 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Air Force has approved the conceptual design and specification of its future PAK-DA strategic bomber, paving the way for development of components for the aircraft, Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Viktor Bondarev said Thursday.

“The development of the aircraft is going as planned. The outline of its design and characteristics has been approved and all relevant documents have been signed allowing the industry to start the development of systems for this plane,” Bondarev said at a meeting with Russian lawmakers.

The PAK-DA (meaning future long-range aircraft) project has been in the works for several years but was given the formal go-ahead by the Russian leadership last year. It is due to replace Russia’s aging fleet of 63 Tupolev Tu-95MS Bear and 13 Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers in the next decade.

According to recent reports in the Russian media, citing defense ministry sources, the Tupolev design bureau has won the PAK-DA development tender with its concept for a subsonic aircraft with a “flying wing” shape which provides superior “stealth capabilities.”

The Defense Ministry insisted that the PAK-DA should be equipped with advanced electronic warfare systems and armed with new nuclear-capable long-range cruise missiles in addition to a veriety of high-precision conventional weapons.

The new bomber is expected to go in production by 2020 and will be built at a new aircraft assembly line at Russia’s Kazan plant (KAPO), according to defense ministry officials. The same plant previously built the Tu-95MS and Tu-160.