6 Jan 2018 15:50

Iskander missile systems could be deployed near Kaliningrad in 2018 - expert

MOSCOW. Jan 6 (Interfax-AVN) - The re-arming of Russian missile brigades with Iskander-M systems could be completed in 2018, with a possible deployment of the system in the Kaliningrad region, an expert on Russian Ground Forces' weapons told Interfax.

"This will happen during missile brigades' planned conversion from Tochka-U to Iskander-M," the source said.

On December 4 the Kommersant newspaper wrote that the Iskander-M mobile short-range ballistic missile system would be deployed in the Kaliningrad region in early 2018.

"They will be deployed in early 2018," a source close to the Russian Armed Forces General Staff told the newspaper. The recipient is the 152nd Guards Missile Brigade, based in the region's town of Chernyakhovsk, which will be trained [for Iskanders] in the very near future, the paper said.

The regional infrastructure is ready for deployment of new missile systems, a Baltic Fleet spokesperson said earlier, without naming the type.

Ground Forces have already received ten brigade Iskander-M kits, the Forces' commander-in-chief Col. Gen. Oleg Salyukov said on December 22.

"The refitting of our missile troops with the modern Iskander-M complex, replacing the outdated Tochka-U, is going to plan. By now more than ten brigade kits have been delivered, including two this year, to the missile units in the Eastern and Western Military Districts," Salyukov said.

A source told Interfax earlier that now the Russian military had eleven brigade kits of Iskander-M missiles: ten were delivered under a contract and one under a separate agreement. Very soon the Armed Forces would receive two more brigade kits under an additional agreement, the source said.

Earlier NATO expressed concern about the possibility of Iskander-Ms being deployed in the Kaliningrad region.

In October of 2016 the Russian Defense Ministry said that Iskander-armed missile troops had been and would be redeployed to the Kaliningrad region as part of military combat training.

The Iskander-M system (designed by Machine Building Design Bureau, part of High Precision Systems holding company) can hit targets within a range of up to 500 kilometers. The system consists of two types of missile: ballistic and cruise. The system is designed to destroy hostile multiple rocket launchers, missile and air defense weapons, aircraft and helicopters at airfields, command posts and infrastructure.

An export variant of the system was delivered to two other countries: Armenia and a North African state.