Moscow plans to equip all battalions of the Russian Northern Fleet with the S-400 air defense system within several years in a bid to create an air defense “dome” over the Russian Arctic, a naval commander says.
“This year, S-400 systems will enter service with the air defense missile regiment stationed on Novaya Zemlya,” said Fleet Commander Vice-Admiral Alexander Moiseyev said in an interview with the Defense Ministry’s Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper on Monday.
“There are plans to arm all our Arctic battalions with these systems in coming years and thus create an air defense dome over the Russian Arctic,” the state-run TASS news agency further quoted the fleet commander as saying in the interview.
The file photo, taken on August 22, 2017, shows Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile launching system at the exposition field in Kubinka Patriot Park outside Moscow during the first day of the International Military-Technical Forum Army-2017. (By AFP)
The S-400 entered service with the Russian army in 2007 and is considered Russia’s most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system.
Capable of engaging targets at a distance of 400 kilometers and at an altitude of up to 30 kilometers, the missile system can destroy aircraft as well as cruise and ballistic missiles. It can also be used against land-based targets.
Back in September, Russia deployed its advanced air shield systems to the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the far north.
Russia has recently been increasing its presence in the Arctic as melting ice opens shipping lanes and reveals incredible riches.
Earlier this year, it launched the world’s first floating nuclear power plant to a remote Siberian town near the US state of Alaska.
Back in April, President Vladimir Putin put forward a program to build ports and other infrastructure in the Arctic and expand Russia’s icebreaker fleet.
In October, Russia test launched nuclear capable missile systems in its Arctic drill. The systems simultaneously employed more than 200 launchers.
According to the vice-admiral, by arming all the divisions of the fleet, the Russian Polar Regions will be protected against aerial aggression, “whether from planes, cruise or ballistic missiles.”
Russia also continues establishing ramified military infrastructure on the Arctic islands, particularly hi-tech lighting systems, to monitor the situation in the air, on the ground and under the water, Moiseyev added.
President Donald Trump of the United States has also floated the idea of purchasing Greenland, the autonomous Danish territory, which is located between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans.
China, one of the world powers, on the other hand is not currently planning for a military presence in the region. It has, instead, focused on energy and resources, via investment in Arctic countries.
The current race for increasing presence in the region comes as the North Pole is plagued by an unprecedented heat wave, which is threatening a global rise in sea levels.