The Leningrad Region and St. Petersburg will be reliably protected from cruise missiles and drones. A unique mobile air defense regiment has been created in the 6th Army of the Air Force and Air Defense. The new military unit is fully armed with Pantsir-S anti-aircraft missile and cannon systems. Units can move into a given area in a matter of hours and reliably cover it from air strikes. “Armor” will cope not only with traditional airplanes and helicopters, but also with unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as with cruise missiles. According to experts, the formation of the regiment is an asymmetric response to the strengthening of NATO in the Baltics – in particular, to the deployment of attack drones and long-range air-launched missiles there.
High mobility and compactness
The formation of the unit was completed at the end of last year, sources in the defense department told Izvestia. It is subordinated to the 6th Army of the Air Force and Air Defense of the Western Military District and will become its mobile reserve, constantly ready to advance to the threatened direction on its own or with the help of aviation.
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Regiments equipped with “Shells” are a new phenomenon for Russian air defense. The high mobility and compactness of the wheeled chassis make it possible to quickly transfer them to targets that are expected to be hit by the enemy. As Izvestia previously reported, the Ministry of Defense has decided to include such a unit in each army of the Air Force and Air Defense.
The first experimental mobile regiment equipped with “Shells” was created as part of the 1st Army of the Special Purpose Air Defense and Missile Defense near Moscow at the end of 2018. The following year, it was reported that he was conducting the first practice shooting at the Ashuluk range in the Astrakhan region. The head of the anti-aircraft missile forces of the 14th Army of the Air Force and Air Defense of the Central Military District, Colonel Gennady Shlag, also announced plans to form a similar unit in the Urals.
According to the Ministry of Defense, by the end of 2020, the troops had already received more than 200 Pantsir-S anti-aircraft missile-gun systems (ZRPK). All of them are directed to the videoconferencing. Previously, they were assigned to one division per S-400 Triumph regiment to cover long-range systems from air and ground threats. Separate units with ZRPK were not formed.
– St. Petersburg is the second most important city in Russia, located close to the border. There are many important military and economic facilities there, ”military expert Vasily Kashin told Izvestia. – And a modern air defense system that allows intercepting cruise missiles and drones is urgently needed there. Suffice it to recall the atomic energy enterprises. Serious protection is needed there.
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Tensions have risen recently. associated with the expansion of NATO, is taking place in the Baltic direction, the specialist noted.
– The countries – partners of the alliance are getting stronger. For example, Sweden, which is not formally a member of the bloc, but closely interacts with it and has recently dramatically increased its military budget, explained Vasily Kashin. – The military infrastructure is moving closer to our borders, and its build-up is taking place. The United States is building facilities in Norway, Poland, and other countries of Eastern Europe. We must take this into account and take measures for our own defense.
The North-West and North directions must be strengthened also because the trajectories of ballistic missiles pass through the Arctic, ex-Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ordzhonikidze told Izvestia. He noted that a difficult situation has been developing in the Baltic region recently.
“The forces of Poland, Germany and other European countries are based in the Baltic,” noted Sergei Ordzhonikidze. “Let’s not forget that it is not the United States that is opposing us, but NATO forces. The bloc’s military contingents are stationed near the Russian borders. If you add up their potential, you see a tremendous superiority. What, it would seem, should the Americans, the British, the Germans do near our borders? Of course, these are not millions of armies, as it was before the First World War. But if there are military men from non-neighboring countries at your borders, this naturally causes tension. And not only in army circles, but also in society.
Controlled shield: the west of Russia will be covered by an automated system It will include fighters, anti-aircraft missile systems and radar
In this region, in recent years, Poland has taken a course towards a rapid increase in the capabilities of its air defense systems. In 2020, the country’s authorities announced the signing of documents for the purchase of 32 F-35A fighters from the United States. The life cycle contract will cost $ 4.6 billion. The start of deliveries is scheduled for 2024. Now the country’s Air Force is equipped with three dozen MiG-29s and fifty light F-16s received from the United States, as well as a small number of Su-22 shock units.
The US State Department has already announced that the acquisition of fifth generation fighters will be a “quantum leap” for Poland in combat capabilities. They will have to replace obsolete Soviet-era aircraft. High-precision long-range weapons continue to be acquired for them.
Earlier, Poland ordered a batch of modern AGM-158 air-launched cruise missiles from the United States to equip F-16 fighters. Depending on the modification, the range of the ammunition ranges from 370 to 1000 km, which makes it possible to keep at gunpoint not only the Kaliningrad region, but also the north-west of Russia.
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The presence of aircraft of the North Atlantic Alliance has also increased in the Baltic States. In 2014, a second airbase was opened there to house the aircraft of the NATO Baltic air patrol mission. In these states, which do not have their own aviation, taking into account rotation, a squadron of one of the bloc’s countries is constantly located. It is this unit that most often appears in the news about the interception of Russian aircraft over the Baltic Sea.
Parts of the 6th Army of the Air Force and Air Defense of the Western Military District are located on the territory of 26 subjects of the Central and Northwestern Federal Districts of our country. Its planes and helicopters are based at 11 aerodromes. The formation includes two air defense divisions.
The army’s area of responsibility includes St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, as well as distant approaches to Moscow. If necessary, it can provide military assistance to Belarus, with which Russia has signed an agreement on the Unified Regional Air Defense System.