By Alexander Vatutin
A new-generation radar of the Voronezh class has been put on combat duty outside St. Petersburg as part of this country’s early warning system.
Two other Voronezh class radars are already operating in a test mode in Krasnodar region and in Russia’s westernmost exclave of Kaliningrad. Another one, near the Siberian city of Irkutsk, will go online later this year, and the Defense Ministry is mulling Voronezh radars for five more Russian regions soon.
The Voronezh class radars are a serious breakthrough compared to the previous generation radars. They are quick to install, more accurate and upgradable too.
The Voronezh-class radars are designed to work in sync with the missile defense ring around Moscow and also to keep an eye on space objects. All this meaning that Russia is deploying a new system of space defense with an effective operational range of up to 6,000 kilometers.
The current overhaul of Russia’s missile defenses is also due to the new strategic challenges presented by the US-led missile shield plans in Europe and also missile threats posed by the so-called rogue states – Iran and North Korea.
Russia has every reason to believe that the US-proposed European missile defense system being developed by NATO may in the next few years pose a real threat to Russia and despite all talk about a joint Russia-NATO missile shield, Moscow’s western partners still avoid making any definitive commitments on this all-important issue. Hence the decision to deploy Voronezh radars in the Russian northwest, says defense expert Vladimir Yevseyev.
“These radars can be integrated into a common early warning system with NATO’s because they can cover areas not covered by US radars. As to their ability to counter the US anti-missiles in Europe, I think we will also need offensive missile complexes there…”
This, however, will only happen if Russia’s legitimate security concerns are ignored by the West…