RUSSIA TO DEPLOY NEW ANTI-TERRORIST AIR DEFENCE SYSTEM AROUND MOSCOW

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MOSCOW, August 18 (RIA Novosti) - We have to put into service an effective combat system with a 40-to-50-seconds response time and this system is available," Yury Solovyov being in charge of the special operations command (SOC), said at a press-conference when asked about measures to be taken to learn from the September 11 experience in the United States.

He noted that a definite legal basis is required for introducing of such system into the inventory. The flight time from Vnukovo airport to the centre of Moscow is approximately one minute and therefore the prevention of attacks like 9/11 call above all for the work of airports' special services, said Mr. Solovyov.

He also reported that flying vehicles of adjacent states keep challenging Russia's air-defence capacity all the time. For instance, some time ago a Boeing, which took off from Frankfurt-am-Main ceased producing identification signals at the approaches to the Russian Federation air boundaries.

"I took the decision to prevent this Boeing from penetrating our space after it failed to get in touch with us and ordered fighters take off," said Mr. Solovyov. Boeing instantly resumed its communication.

Touching upon the SOC's fighting capacity, the commander said that the force would respond adequately to any action on the part of a provisional enemy. "We are in possession of adequate forces and means to repel initial aggression," said Mr. Solovyov.

The SOC incorporates the 16th air army stationed in the Moscow suburbs of Kubinka and two air-defence corps deployed in Rzhev, Tver Region, and Balashikha, the Moscow suburbs, with a total strength of 50,000 men, according to Mr. Solovyov. Up-to-date technology, including MIG-29, MIG-31, MIG-25, SU-24 and SU-27, are now operational at Russian aircraft units.

The electronic warfare forces organic to the SOC have got three-coordinate radar stations as well as the newest automatic control systems enabling supervision over troops and armaments.

Mr. Solovyov observed that NATO's expansion eastward and, in particular, the placement of F-16 fighter-jets on combat duty in the countries recently admitted to NATO do not necessitate any change in the SOC combat duty schedule.

"Besides, we are constantly in contact with the Air defence and Air Force of Belarus," said Mr. Solovyov.

The Special Operations Command was set up on the basis of the Moscow air defence and air force district in 2002.

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