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01:43 GMT +3 hours20 December 2014
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Russia successfully tests new S-400 air defense system

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Russia has successfully conducted the first live firing tests of its new S-400 Triumf air defense complex at a testing ground in southern Russia, the Air Force said Friday.
MOSCOW, July 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has successfully conducted the first live firing tests of its new S-400 Triumf air defense complex at a testing ground in southern Russia, the Air Force said Friday.

A basic firing exercise was conducted July 12-13 at the Kapustin Yar firing range in the Astrakhan Region by an air defense regiment that will soon assume combat duty outside the Russian capital.

"The exercise was a success," the Air Force press service said in a statement. "The system destroyed all designated targets."

The S-400 (NATO codename SA-21 Growler) is a new air defense missile system developed by the Almaz Central Design Bureau as an upgrade of the S-300 family.

It has been designed to intercept and destroy airborne targets at a distance of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles), or twice the range of the U.S. MIM-104 Patriot, and 2.5 times that of the S-300PMU-2.

Lieutenant General Alexander Gorkov, the Air Force air defense chief, said last week that Russia planned to deploy new air defense systems primarily around all strategically important administrative and political centers in two stages by 2015.

During the second stage, which starts in 2010, Russia will add modernized versions of the S-400 with enhanced characteristics in comparison to the current model, he said.

The system is reportedly highly capable of destroying stealth aircraft, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles with an effective range of up to 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) and a speed of up to 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) per second.

The Russian Air Defense 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.