06:52 GMT +319 June 2019
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    Russia Busy at Work Rebuilding Soviet-Era Air Defense Umbrella

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    Speaking to Russian media about the work being done to enhance and strengthen the Joint CIS Air Defense System, Russian Aerospace Forces Commander Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev said that the creation of a united regional air defense system in the post-Soviet space serves as an excellent opportunity to strengthen the common air defense of Eurasia.

    In an interview for Krasnaya Zvezda ('Red Star'), the official newspaper of the Russian Ministry of Defense, Bondarev, who also serves as chair of the coordinating committee of the Joint Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Air Defense System, said there was a broader significance to the regional air defensive structure, work on which continues to progress.

    "On the one hand, the creation of unified regional systems promotes the further development of the Joint CIS Air Defense System, and on the other, it provides an excellent opportunity to strengthen the air defense in this particular geopolitical direction," Bondarev said.

    The commander explained that Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) members Russia, Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have already worked out and signed agreements to improve cooperation within the Joint CIS Air Defense System, and improve the system's organization and coordination.

    "At the moment, work is underway on the practical implementation of these agreements. Similar agreements have been developed with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and presently they are undergoing procedures for inter-departmental approval," Bondarev added.

    The senior officer stressed that very close attention is being paid to the expanded military-technical cooperation going on in the framework of the Joint CIS Air Defense System. 

    Specifically, Bondarev explained that "the main of these measures include the supply of anti-aircraft missile systems to Kazakhstan, the provision of modern communications systems to Kyrgyzstan, the supply of aircraft and anti-aircraft missile technology to Tajikistan, and the supply of spare parts and equipment for air defense equipment in Armenia and Belarus."

    Servicemen load a Pechora-2M air defense complex of the Tajikistan armed forces during the 2013 Combat Commonwealth, a military drill for the CIS joint air defense system, at the Ashuluk training ground
    © Sputnik / Mihail Mokrushin
    Servicemen load a Pechora-2M air defense complex of the Tajikistan armed forces during the 2013 Combat Commonwealth, a military drill for the CIS joint air defense system, at the Ashuluk training ground

    Over the space of two decades, members of the Joint CIS Air Defense System have taken part in dozens of joint air defense drills and war games involving fighters, bombers, long-range aviation, attack helicopters, radar surveillance and early warning systems, as well as anti-aircraft missile units and radioelectronic defense troops. 

    Bondarev revealed that at the moment, the assets of the Joint CIS Air Defense System include 19 aviation units, 38 anti-aircraft missile troops units, 15 radio-radar troops units, 9 air defense brigades, and three units of radioelectronic warfare troops. "The existing composition of forces and resources is sufficient for the successful completion of air defense tasks, but it can be increased if necessary," the senior officer said. 

    Bondarev also pointed out that the training of specialists for the unified air defense system is being carried out at the Zhukov Air and Space Defense Academy in the Russian city of Tver. There, specialists from participant countries receive advanced training according to a unified standard.

    According to the commander, efforts to improve the work of the Joint CIS Air Defense System are conducted in accordance with the main directions of the agreement. "In the near future, the current draft document will be submitted for consideration by the Council of the Heads of State of the CIS, in accordance with established procedure," he said.

    Russian, Belarusian air forces and air-defense forces conduct joint exercise at Telemba center
    © Sputnik / Evgeny Yepanchintsev
    Russian, Belarusian air forces and air-defense forces conduct joint exercise at Telemba center

    The concept of a united aerospace defense space in the post-Soviet space was approved by the organization's Defense Ministers on June 15, 2016. On November 30, 2016, the Council approved draft guidelines for the adoption of a united system of aerospace defense. They outline measures to improve the regulatory legal framework for cooperation, and to improve the organization and management of the integrated air defense system. Plans exist to create specialized subsystems devoted to reconnaissance, early warning to air and space attack, as well as measures to defeat and suppress enemy attacks.

    On Sunday, Dmitri Shugaev, the head of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, the body charged with managing military-technical cooperation with other states, told Sputnik that Russia was on track to continue supplying advanced defense products, including helicopters, air defense system and armored vehicles, to CSTO countries including Belarus, Armenia and Kazakhstan. 

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    Tags:
    joint air defense, interview, Aerospace Defense Forces (VKO), Commonwealth of Independent States, Viktor Bondarev, Eurasia, Russia, Soviet Union
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