Russia launches major program to strengthen country's air and missile defense

The S500 System during its tests in the Russian winter

The Russian authorities have announced a major program aimed at modernizing, but above all densifying, the country's anti-air and anti-missile defense, following Ukrainian drone attacks on their territory.

Before the Russian aggression against Ukraine, a majority of analysts considered, not without many objective reasons, that the Russian multi-layer anti-air and anti-missile defense was one of the most efficient, if not the most effective. performance of the planet.

This in fact combined several types of specialized and complementary systems, such as the S-400 dedicated to anti-aircraft defense and anti-missile defense at medium and high altitude, the S-300PMU/2 for anti-ballistic defense, the Buk for tactical defense at medium and low altitude, as well as the TOR and Pantsir systems for close defense.

This defense, supplemented by the A-135 heavy anti-ballistic systems positioned around Moscow and Saint Petersburg, covered a very large perimeter along the Russian borders and also ensured the protection of sensitive sites, while being presented as perfectly integrated with air defense composed of A-50 air surveillance aircraft, Mig-31 interceptors and Su-35 and Su-27 air superiority aircraft.

Russian anti-aircraft defense caught at fault

The war in Ukraine, and in particular the strikes attributed to Ukraine against several sensitive Russian sites, whether the Rostov air base and the Belgorod fuel depots at the start of the conflict, the strategic air base of 'Engels a few months ago, or the strike less than 200 km from Moscow a few weeks ago, using Toshka ballistic missiles, Mi-24 combat helicopters or Tu-141 drones, have noticeably cut into breaches the image of absolute opacity that Moscow has wanted to give to its air defense until now, to the point that even Turkey seems to want to turn away from the S-400 to develop its own long-range anti-aircraft system.

If the problem is already sensitive on the international scene for possible future Russian arms exports, it is also important on the domestic scene, public opinion and Russian commentators being increasingly perplexed by the apparent lack of performance of the country's air defense is supposed to be impossible to fail, including by NATO.

S-350 air defense system
The S-350 system is lighter and more mobile than the S-300 it replaces

It is in this context that Sergei Shoigu, the Russian Defense Minister, considered Vladimir Putin's designated heir before the war in Ukraine and on the verge of disgrace since, announced a vast program aimed at modernizing and strengthening the anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense of Russian territory, and in particular considerably toughen the protection of Moscow.

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