Russia's new mid-range Vityaz air defense system should replace the outdated S-300 system by 2014, former chief designer of Almaz-Antei corporation Igor Ashurbeili said.
"Vityaz should be ready to enter service in 2013-2014," Ashurbeili said in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti. "Only the insufficient funding of the testing of a new missile for this system could cause a delay."
The Vityaz is expected to replace the outdated S-300PS systems, whose service life is coming to an end in the next two years.
The new system will have a more advanced radar and a launcher with 16 missiles compared to only four on the S-300.
The Vityaz will complement the Morfey, the S-400 and the S-500 air defense systems in the future aerospace defense network to engage targets at ranges from five to 400 kilometers, and at altitudes from five meters to near space.
Ashurbeili said that the timely introduction of the Vityaz is crucial to Russia's aerospace defense network as the country will have only a few dozen battalions of modernized S-300PM systems to fill the mid-range gap after the S-300PS are taken from combat duty.