Lt. Gen. Viktor Gumennyy, the Russia's Aerospace Forces' deputy commander-in-chief said that before the end of this year, first samples of a new Pantsir-SA self-propelled anti-aircraft complex, designed for combat in the Arctic conditions, will become operational in the Aerospace Forces and the Northern Fleet.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Russian army will receive the first samples of advanced Pantsir-SA air defense systems designed for the Arctic region by the end of 2016, the Aerospace Forces' deputy commander-in-chief said Saturday.
"Before the end of this year, first samples of a new Pantsir-SA self-propelled anti-aircraft complex, designed for combat in the Arctic conditions, will become operational in the Aerospace Forces and the Northern Fleet," Lt. Gen. Viktor Gumennyy told Russia's Life broadcaster.
He added that Russia's army was also receiving Pantsir-S and Pantsir-S2 systems.
Russia is currently implementing a large-scale rearmament program, announced in 2010, to modernize 70 percent of its military hardware by 2020. The total modernization program is estimated to cost about 20 trillion rubles (some $310 billion at current exchange rates).
In December 2014, Russia unveiled a revised military doctrine that prioritizes the protection of national interests in the Arctic. Russia has improved its presence in the Arctic, believed to hold huge oil and natural gas deposits, establishing a new Arctic command and is expanding its icebreaker fleet.
According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia does not plan to militarize the Arctic, but will take the necessary steps to ensure its defense capabilities in the region.