By RIA Novosti
Moscow : Russia will deploy the first air defence battalion equipped with new S-400 missile systems around Moscow on Aug 6, an Air Force spokesman has said.
The S-400 Triumf (NATO codename SA-21 Growler) is a new air defence missile system developed by the Almaz Central Design Bureau as an upgrade of the S-300 family.
"A battalion equipped with S-400 Triumf air defence systems and a command post will be put on combat duty (around Moscow) Aug 6," Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky told a news conference Tuesday.
Russia successfully conducted live firing tests of S-400 air defence complex at the Kapustin Yar firing range in the Astrakhan region July 12-13.
Drobyshevsky said units of the first battalion had arrived at their deployment site in the Moscow region and were preparing to assume combat duty.
A regular S-400 battalion comprises at least eight launchers and 32 missiles and a mobile command post, according to sources.
S-400 has been designed to intercept and destroy airborne targets at a distance of up to 400 km, or twice the range of the US MIM-104 Patriot, and 2.5 times that of the S-300 PMU-2.
The system is reportedly capable of destroying stealth aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles with an effective range of up to 3,500 km and a speed of up to 4.8 km per second.
Experts believe that the ability to intercept and destroy cruise missiles and ballistic missiles makes S-400 Triumf a crucial part of theatre missile defences.
Lieutenant General Alexander Gorkov, the Air Force air defence chief, said earlier in July that Russia planned to deploy new air defence systems primarily around all strategically important administrative and political centres in two stages by 2015.
The Russian Air Defence Forces, which are part of the Air Force, currently deploy more than 30 regiments equipped with S-300 (NATO reporting name SA-10 Grumble) missile complexes, which will be gradually replaced with S-400 systems.