In Izvestiya yesterday, Dmitriy Litovkin wrote that today Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov will receive a new, large-scale concept for establishing Russia’s global aerospace defense system for his review.
According to Litovkin, the concept’s drafters picked 9 August because it’s the 60th anniversary of the USSR Council of Ministers decision to create the Soviet strategic air defense system. He adds that Izvestiya is the first to study this just now declassified seven-page document. It called for Soviet designers to develop an air defense system for Moscow codenamed ‘Berkut,’ in an improbably short period of two and a half years.
Litovkin quotes former Air Forces CINC Anatoliy Kornukov:
“Today we’ve developed and given the Defense Ministry an analogous document, setting down goals and tasks in the area of developing the country’s VKO system – this is a draft of a presidential decree on establishing VKO.”
In this case, the ‘we’ is the Extradepartmental Expert Council for Air-Space Defense (VKO) Problems, which Kornukov chairs.
Of course, Kornukov is a well-known critic of the state of Russia’s current aerospace defenses, who also advises air defense system producer Almaz-Antey. One might, therefore, logically conclude that Kornukov’s concept will accord with Almaz-Antey’s current plans.
Litovkin goes on to relate stories of Laventiy Beria’s and his son’s involvement in those early air defense development efforts, and the prize money offered to the designers and their teams.
He tells about the Soviet / Russian A-35 and A-135 nuclear-armed ABM interceptors made obsolete by the S-400. The S-400 he describes as a direct successor to the S-300, but with modern electronics:
“The tactical-technical characteristics of the S-400 were confirmed in the course of large-scale exercises ‘Combat Commonwealth-2009’ and ‘West-2009.’ S-400 combat crews successfully destroyed targets analogous to modern and future air attack systems. The correctness of the Defense Ministry’s decision on creating air-space defense brigades was confirmed at the same time.”
Litovkin quotes Almaz-Antey Chief Igor Ashurbeyli:
“In modern conditions even the S-400, if you go the way of endless modernization, will end up in a technical dead end. The system is indisputably effective, it will be modernized in the future, but up to a certain reasonable limit. Its combat potential will be raised, but it won’t go beyond the bounds of ‘conventional’ PVO-PRO systems. Today we have the mission of covering the country from the greatest number of potential threats. On the Defense Ministry’s order, we’ve started development of the fundamentally new S-500 system.”
As stated many times, Litovkin notes the S-500 is to complete development by 2015, but its characteristics haven’t been disclosed, beyond it having a new active X-band phased array radar. Supplemental short- and medium-range SAMs (Morfey and Vityaz) will be developed. The S-400, S-500, and these systems are supposed to cover ranges from 5 to 400 kilometers, at heights from 5 meters to near space.