Russia’s Ministry of Defence has deployed a battalion of S-400 Triumph air defence missile systems in the exclave of Kaliningrad, the third base to deploy an S-400 battalion.
Russian Air Force Chief of Staff major general Viktor Bondarev had earlier confirmed that three battalions of the missile systems will be deployed in 2012.
Commenting on the deployment of the systems, Russian Air Force commander Alexander Zelin said that the new systems are likely to be deployed in response to the US-led European missile shield initiative, which Russia considers as a threat to its national security.
The Russian Defence Ministry said that it has no plans to export the S-400 systems and the production of S-300 systems will be replaced by S-400 systems for the Russian Armed Forces only.
Developed by central design bureau Almaz, S-400 Triumph long- to medium-range surface-to-air missile system is an upgrade of the S-300 missile system family.
The system has been designed to intercept and destroy airborne targets such as stealth aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles using a range of missiles, at a distance of up to 250 miles, an altitude of 40,000m to 50,000m and a speed of up to three miles per second.
The S-400 (code named SA-21 Growler) air defence regiment consists of four air defence systems each, with two or three battalions.The first S-400 regiment has been deployed in Electrostal, near Moscow, while the second has been deployed at Nakhodka, Far East Russia, as reported by Izvestia daily.
Russia is planning to arm 56 battalions with S-400 systems by 2020, each comprised of two battalions in a bid to create a cornerstone of Russia’s theatre air and missile defences.