The sky above Moscow is defended weakly. Military experts say that the Russian capital is vulnerable against an air attack or a missile strike. Russia’s latest S-400 missile system will not be capable of improving the situation. The new upgraded missiles for the complex have not been designed yet.
The subject of Moscow’s air defense surfaced again at a news conference on June 16. Anatoly Kornukov, the former Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force, and Leonid Ivashov, the former chief of Russia’s Military Staff, believe that Moscow’s air defense system is outdated and therefore incapable of executing its goals. Mr. Ivashov believes that Russia needs to either make huge investments in the development of its air defense system or move the capital to the east of the country.
Pravda.Ru interviewed Alexander Khramchikhin, the deputy director of the Institute of Military and Political Analysis about the vulnerability of Moscow’s air defense.
“One may not say Russia’s air and missile defense systems are not good at all. However, it is necessary to take urgent measures indeed. The current condition of the air defense system can be described as 'poor' in comparison with that of the Soviet period. As for the idea to move the capital – it is an absurd one. Russia’s new center would have to be defended too and it would too be vulnerable against air raids and missile attacks,” the specialist said.
Konstantin Sivkov, the Vice President of the Academy of Geopolitical Analysis, was more comprehensive in his comments.
“The air defense system consists of the air surveillance system, the administration, the attack force and attack means. The latter include anti-aircraft complexes and interceptor jets.
“The air surveillance system is required to detect an attack from the enemy. Russia’s current system is unable to detect the danger in the sky if an object flies at the altitude below two or three kilometers. Therefore, it is quite possible to attack Russia inland.
“Russia’s radar stations in the Far North and in Siberia do not cover hundreds of kilometers of the country’s territory. We have the A-50 aircraft, which is an analogue of the US AWAKS, to conduct the airborne reconnaissance. However, we have only 15 such planes. Russia needs a lot more of them to control the sky.
“The attack force and means also need to be updated urgently. It goes about fighter aircraft, first and foremost. I have no doubts that Su-27 and MiG-29 were perfect for their time. However, we are two generations behind now. The USA, for example, already has a fifth-generation aircraft – F-22. Russia only works on the production of the fourth-generation jets, like Su-34, the first flight of which took place 20 years ago. To crown it all, MiG-31 interceptors are referred to the beginning of the 1970s.
“Thus, it would be very hard for Russia to destroy the enemy in the air. This is the consequence of Russia’s politics to destroy the structure of its own air defense. We have not been updating the system for 20 years,” the expert concluded.
As for the widely-advertised S-400 missile complexes, Russia has only one regiment of them. It is currently compatible with outdated missiles, which were used for its predecessor – the S-300 system. The new upgraded missiles have not been designed yet.