MOSCOW 28.12.2012 Valeriy Melnikov --- RIA Novosti
A new-generation Voronezh-DM class anti-missile radar will enter combat duty near the town of Armavir in Russia’s southern Krasnodar region in the beginning of 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.
“The radar will monitor the Russian airspace in the southern strategic vector,” Putin said at a Kremlin meeting with newly-appointed and promoted high-ranking military officials.
The Armavir radar will replace the Gabala radar station, which Russia had leased from Azerbaijan for 10 years.
The lease, signed in 2002, expired on December 24, and Russia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that the Russian army will not renew it.
The anti-missile radar near Armavir is one of the four new-generation Voronezh-class radars that have been built in Russia in recent years.
Two Voronezh-M radars have been deployed in Lekhtusi near St. Petersburg and near the town of Usolye-Sibirskoe in Siberia’s Irkutsk Region.
Another Voronezh-DM class radar stationed in the westernmost exclave of Kaliningrad was put on combat duty in November last year in what then-President Dmitry Medvedev said was part of Russia’s response to U.S. and NATO European missile defense shield plans.
Voronezh-DM class radars have a range of 6,000 kilometers. They can be more quickly deployed to a new site and require a smaller crew to operate it compared to previous generation stations.
Two sections of the Armavir radar that have been working in a testing mode have allowed monitoring the area from France and Spain in the west, to Algeria in the southwest, Sudan in the south, and Iran, Afghanistan and parts of India and Pakistan in the southeast, according to the Russian military.
The Defense Ministry has recently announced that Russia will start building two new radars in east Siberia's Krasnoyarsk Territory and in the south Siberian Altai Republic in 2013 as part of its missile defense network.