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  • SA-21 SAMs To Threaten Japan, China or North Korea?
    Posted by David A. Fulghum 4:36 PM on Feb 16, 2011

    Moscow says it will deploy advanced air defenses and other reinforcements to defend the Kuril Islands just north of Japan’s northern-most main island of Hokkaido, according to a new report out of Russia.

    The weaponry will include the S-400 Triumf, says RIA Novosti (the Russian International News Agency) quoting an unnamed high-ranking official in the Russian General Staff. The system has missiles that can intercept aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles. A battalion consists of 8 launchers and 32 missiles.

    Military support with modern weaponry is a must for the security of the islands, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in a meeting last week with Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Regional Development Minister Viktor Basagrin.

    The four Kuril-chain islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and Habomai between Hokkaido and Russia's Far Eastern Kamchatka Peninsula were annexed by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II, but are still claimed by Japan.

    The General Staff official said S-400 missile defense systems could be deployed to the islands to protect them from possible attacks, says RIA. Japan lobbied to buy the F-22 Raptor and is now aligning itself for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, both of which are stealth designs.

    The S-400 (SA-21 Growler) is a product of the Almaz Central Design Bureau and an upgrade of the S-300 family (SA-10 and SA-20). Almaz/Antey data says the missile system can detect targets at a range of 250 mi. and engage them at 125 mi. The S-400 is expected to be superseded by the S-500 which is to complete development in 2012.

    Medvedev toured one of the Kuril islands in November 2010. Japanese officials said the visit could complicate bilateral relations. The visit was the first by a Russian or Soviet head of state. On February 8, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan called Medvedev's visit to the islands an "inexcusable rudeness"

    In August 2009, Russian Air Force commander, Gen. Alexander Zelin said that Moscow would develop a new air and space defense system by 2020 that could avert any threat.

    “In coordination with all kinds of troops of Russia’s armed forces, it must be ready to deter potential aggressors at regional and global levels in peaceful times and to rebuff an armed aggression by its entire arsenal of conventional and nuclear weapons during a war,” he said.

    Moreover, Zelin said Moscow was now developing a fifth-generation, S-500 air-defense missile.

    Tags: ar99, SA-21, Japan, Russia, BMD

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