All Russian missile brigades to get Iskander systems by 2018
Iskander-M ballistic missile systems, which can effectively engage two targets within a minute at a range of up to 280 kilometers, will be provided to all Russian Ground Forces missile brigades by 2018, the country's defense minister said Friday.
The missiles have a non-ballistic flight path that is difficult for the enemy to predict and are guided throughout their flight, RIA Novosti reported.
On Friday, a missile brigade in southern Russia's Astrakhan Region received an advanced Iskander-M missile complex, which "has no match in the world for its tactical specifications," Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on a visit to the facility, Russian media reported.
The complex was delivered in a complete set, rather than "piecemeal" as previously done, the minister said. He stressed the importance of ensuring high personnel-training standards and the construction of new infrastructure for the system to be operated effectively.
In 2011, then-President Dmitry Medvedev announced plans to deploy Iskander missiles in Russia's westernmost Kaliningrad Region, to counter the threat posed by US plans to deploy missile defense elements in Europe. NATO and the United States have insisted that the shield would defend NATO members against missiles from North Korea and Iran and would not be directed at Russia.
Russia proposed a joint missile defense system, an idea that many experts both at home and abroad dismiss as unviable and unrealistic. Then it demanded "legally binding guarantees" that US/NATO missiles would not be aimed at Russia.
Since Moscow's proposal received a lukewarm response in the West, Russia has been warning of unspecified low-cost "asymmetric measures" to counter the future Western missile defense system.