Russia to produce new combat choppers, tests air defence missile

December 26th, 2008 - 8:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Chkalovsky (Russia), Dec 26 (RIA Novosti) The Russian government has approved the production of Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters in the country’s Far East, while the air force is testing a new missile for the S-400 Triumf air defence system, officials said here Friday.The Ka-52 is a twin-seater derivative of the Ka-50 Hokum-A attack helicopter, and is designed mainly for reconnaissance and target designation purposes. The helicopter is similar to the US AH-64 Apache attack helicopter.

“The Russian government has approved the production of the first batch of Ka-52 helicopters at the Arsenyevsk plant,” Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin, said.

Deliveries of the first 12 Ka-52 Hokum-Bs to the Russian Air Force will start in 2009.

Zelin said the Russian Air Force would receive more than 100 new helicopters, including Ka-52 and Mi-28 N Night Hunter, over the next four years.

The S-400 (SA-21 Growler) is designed to intercept and destroy airborne targets up to 400 km, twice the range of the US MIM-104 Patriot missiles.

The system is expected to form the cornerstone of Russia’s theatre air and missile defences up to 2020 and beyond.

“The S-400 system is being successfully deployed with air defence units. At present, we are testing a new missile for this system,” Zelin said.

Russia successfully conducted firing tests of the S-400 air defence at the Kapustin Yar firing range last year and deployed a battalion of the first missile regiment equipped with the new system to protect the airspace surrounding Moscow.

The system is believed to be able to destroy stealth aircraft, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles, with an effective range of up to 3,500 km, and with a maximum speed of 4.8 km per second.

A regular S-400 battalion comprises at least eight launchers with 32 missiles and a mobile command post, according to officials.

Russia’s new arms procurement programme (until 2015) stipulates the purchase of S-400 air defence systems to arm 18 battalions during the period.

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