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    S-400 system deployment postponed - Russian AF commander -1

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    S-400 missile defense systems (NATO codename SA-21 Growler) will be deployed later that previously expected, the commander of Russia's Air Force said Tuesday.

    (Adds background in paras 4-8)

    MONINO (Moscow Region), June 12 (RIA Novosti) - S-400 missile defense systems (NATO codename SA-21 Growler) will be deployed later that previously expected, the commander of Russia's Air Force said Tuesday.

    "The deployment of the new S-400 missile defense system is postponed due to objective reasons," Colonel-General Alexander Zelin said, without mentioning the exact reasons. He added that S-400 will certainly be deployed in summer.

    Earlier it was reported the first S-400 systems were to be deployed July 1, 2007.

    The S-400 Triumf 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 MIM-104 Patriot, and 2.5 times that of the S-300PMU-2.

    In April, Colonel-General Yury Solovyov, commander of the Air Defense Forces Special Command (former Moscow Military District Air Defense Command), said the system could also be used for limited purposes in missile and space defense, but that it is not intended to destroy intercontinental ballistic missiles.

    However, he said the system is 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 missile complexes, which will be gradually replaced with S-400 systems.

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