At present, the defense industry and the armed forces continue to modernize the anti-missile defense system of Moscow and the A-135 Amur Central Industrial Region. Various activities are underway to upgrade, replace and test components of this system, and a significant increase in its potential is expected in the near future.
In the process of modernization
The current project to update the A-135 system has been going on for several years. As previously reported, its goal is to consistently modernize all components of the system in order to improve their characteristics and expand the capabilities of the Amur as a whole. An important feature of the current modernization is to carry out work without removing the system from combat duty. In addition, the existing components of the system are complemented by a new echelon that expands its overall capabilities.
Possible appearance of the A-235 system launcher
One of the urgent tasks is the creation and development of modernized and fundamentally new interceptor missiles. The design of such products has been completed and flight tests are underway. In February of this year, Major General Sergei Grabchuk, the commander of the missile defense division of the 1st Air Defense and Missile Defense Army of the Aerospace Forces, spoke about the successful continuation of the development of promising antimissiles. In the near future, these products will go into service.
The modernization process continues and will take some time. In the middle of last year, the leadership of the Ministry of Defense indicated that the work would be completed in 2022. In the future, the timing of the work was not adjusted, which may indicate full compliance with the established schedule.
The most visible part of the current Amur modernization is the flight tests of the upgraded and new interceptor missiles. After such events, the Ministry of Defense publishes spectacular footage that consistently attracts the attention of specialists and the public. In addition, foreign sources regularly report new tests in our country, incl. government structures.
Preparation for test launch on October 29, 2020
So, the first news in 2020 about a test launch of an anti-missile came from abroad. In mid-April, US Space Command announced the launch of an A-235 Nudol rocket. It was argued that this product belongs to the class of anti-satellite weapons and is capable of striking spacecraft in orbits up to 1500-2000 km. A missile defense with such capabilities is seen as a real challenge to US interests.
Foreign reports about a test launch in mid-April have not received confirmation from the Russian side. Whether any tests of the domestic missile defense system were carried out during this period is unknown.
The first anti-missile launch this year, which was talked about openly, took place only on October 28. The new rocket, the type of which was not specified, was launched at the Sary-Shagan training ground (Kazakhstan). The product confirmed the inherent characteristics, and the combat crew successfully coped with the task of hitting a conditional target with a given accuracy.
On November 26, a new test flight of an unnamed type of antimissile took place. This launch also ended with the defeat of the conditional target and was recognized as successful. As before, the exact characteristics of the tested interceptor missile, target parameters and other key features of the tests were not reported.
According to various estimates and assumptions, the current launches are carried out with the aim of testing and testing a new version of the anti-missile. On the basis of the 53T6 product, which was originally part of the A-135, the 53T6M interceptor missile with higher characteristics was created. Tests of this anti-missile began several years ago and continue to this day. As a result, it will have to become part of the missile defense system and replace the existing missiles of the old type.
An interesting fact is that this year the Ministry of Defense did not report on the work on the modernization of the ground components of the A-135 system – although in the past such news came regularly. This may indicate the completion of the necessary activities and obtaining the desired results. Probably, the upgrade of the complexes in order to improve the characteristics and to ensure compatibility with new anti-missile missiles has been successfully completed.
It is important that such events were carried out without interrupting combat duty. Training was carried out on a regular basis in the detection and conditional interception of targets, in the guidance of space objects, etc. Also, the Russian missile defense system monitored domestic and foreign ballistic missile launches.
A container with a rocket involved in tests on November 26, 2020.
Recent news shows that the Amur system needs new facilities. First of all, it is necessary to organize – build or remake from the existing – sites for the subsequent deployment of the Nudol complexes.
Present and future
The ending 2020 was an important period for the domestic missile defense, but so far there have been no qualitative and quantitative breakthroughs. Regular work continues to track the air and outer space in order to timely identify threats and respond to them. In parallel, work is underway to modernize the existing missile defense components and create new ones.
You can imagine what will happen in the next 2021. Continuing duty, the Amur missile defense system will again receive new components. It is quite possible that next year the new anti-missile missile will be put into service and put on duty – if this does not happen before the end of this year. Also, new test launches, training events, etc. should be expected.
The current modernization program will be completed in 2022 and the desired results are already known. The updated Don-2N radar with improved performance and increased speed will be on alert. With its help and under the control of the central command and computing center, firing systems with missiles of two types will be used. The modernized 53T6M short-range intercept missile with a range of 20-100 km will enter service. It will be supplemented with the A-235 mobile complex with a longer range and, probably, with the ability to intercept orbital targets.
In the same 2022, two new radars of the missile attack warning system of the Voronezh family are expected to enter combat duty. Objects in the Komi Republic and the Murmansk region will follow the northern and northwestern directions. Together with other early warning radars, they will provide the Amur system with data on potentially dangerous objects.
Thus, right now, one stage in the history of the missile defense system of Moscow and the Central Industrial Region is coming to an end – and the next one begins. These processes are proceeding in a planned manner and in compliance with all secrecy measures. However, the lack of regular and detailed reports does not hinder the achievement of the desired results. And at the appointed time, the domestic missile defense system will acquire new capabilities.