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    Russia to equip 20 battalions with S-400 air defense systems -1

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    More than 20 Russian battalions will be equipped with S-400 anti-missile systems by 2015, the country's top military official said Tuesday.

    (Recasts headline, lead, adds details, background, quotes in paras 4-7)

    MOSCOW, August 7 (RIA Novosti) - More than 20 Russian battalions will be equipped with S-400 anti-missile systems by 2015, the country's top military official said Tuesday.

    The S-400 Triumf (NATO codename SA-21 Growler) is a new air defense missile system developed by the Almaz Central Design Bureau as an upgrade of the S-300 family.

    "Over two dozen battalions are to be equipped with such systems by 2015," Yury Baluyevsky, chief of staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

    Monday saw the first such battalion come into operation in the Moscow Region, which Baluyevsky said was good news, as the system was based on new solutions and promising technologies. "There are almost no such systems in the world," he added.

    The system 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. It is 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 system has good prospects for using nanotechnologies, besides others, to increase striking range and height," Baluyevsky said.

    President Putin thanked members of the military, engineers and other workers who helped place the first S-400 systems on combat duty.

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