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    Moscow to deploy S-400 air defense systems in northwest Russia

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    Advanced S-400 anti-aircraft / anti-missile systems will be deployed in northwest Russia in the near future, an army commander said on Thursday.

    MOSCOW, February 7 (RIA Novosti) - Advanced S-400 anti-aircraft / anti-missile systems will be deployed in northwest Russia in the near future, an army commander said on Thursday.

    "S-300 systems, currently in service in northwest Russia, will soon be replaced by the new S-400 Triumf [SA-21 Growler] system," said Lt. Gen. Vladimir Sviridov, the Leningrad Region Air Force and Air Defense Army commander.

    The S-400 is designed to intercept and destroy airborne targets at a distance of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles), twice the range of the U.S. MIM-104 Patriot, and 2.5 times that of the S-300PMU-2.

    The S-400 Triumf is to form the core of Russia's theater air and missile defenses through 2020, or even 2025.

    Russia said last month it would deploy a second S-400 regiment at the end of 2008.

    The first S-400 battalion to be deployed was put into service to protect airspace around Moscow and industrial zones in central Russia.

    The system is capable of effectively engaging stealth aircraft, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles, with a range of up to 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) and a speed of up to 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) per second.

    A regular S-400 battalion comprises at least eight launchers with 32 missiles and a mobile command post, according to various sources. The new state arms procurement program until 2015 stipulates the purchase of enough S-400 air defense systems to arm 18 battalions during this period.

    The Russian Air Force Special Command currently provides air defense for 140 strategic sites in 13 regions of central Russia, including administrative, industrial, and transportation facilities, as well as nuclear power stations.

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