13 Jan 2018 19:00

Crimean air defense significantly reinforced with S-400 missiles - former deputy commander of Russian Air Force

MOSCOW. Jan 13 (Interfax-AVN) - Russia has created a powerful air defense system in Crimea, complete with S-400 missile systems, fighter aircraft and Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft weapon systems, Lieut. Gen. Aitech Bizhev, the Russian Air Force's former deputy chief commander for the CIS joint air defense system, told Interfax on Saturday.

"With the S-400's tactical-technical characteristics, the firing capabilities of our air defense system in Crimea are now at least twice, thrice as high," Bizhev said.

A new, Crimea's second, division of S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems was deployed in Sevastopol on Saturday. The first one was deployed in Feodosia a year ago.

"Thanks to S-400 Crimea's air defense combat capabilities have increased, both in range and in target attack altitude," Bizhev said.

As well as S-400, the defense of Crimea is ensured by the Pantsir-S1 combined SAM and anti-aircraft weapon system and air patrols by fighter jets, he said.

The S-400s in Crimea substantially reinforce Russia's defensive capabilities in the south, Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov, a former Black Sea Fleet commander, told Interfax earlier.

"This is a reinforcement of our firepower. This will reinforce our defensive capabilities not just in Crimea but in the south in general, given that the U.S. missile defense system is not far off," Komoyedov said then.

The S-400 Triumf long-range air defense complex was designed and built by Almaz-Antey company for highly efficient destruction of strategic and tactical aircraft, ballistic missiles, hypersonic targets and other means of aerial attack amid radio-electronic and other types of countermeasures.

The system can destroy aerodynamic targets at a range of up to 400 kilometers and hit ballistic targets flying at a speed of up to 4.8 kilometers per second at altitudes varying from several meters to several dozen kilometers at a range of 60 kilometers.

An S-400 Triumf system was deployed to protect the Russian Hmeimim airbase in Syria. According to the Janes edition, Russia has deployed one more S-400 system to Syria.

The S-400 system was showcased in Crimea for the first time on November 19, 2016, during an event in Kerch to encourage military enlistment on a contract basis.

Pantsir-S1 is a short-to-medium-range anti-aircraft weapon system designed by Tula-based KBP Instrument Design Bureau (part of High Precision Systems).