Russia to deliver a S-300 air defense missile system to Kyrgyzstan

Russia to deliver a S-300 air defense missile system to Kyrgyzstan

On May 29, 2024, Ruslan Mukambetov, the Chief of the General Staff of the Ministry of Defense of Kyrgyzstan, confirmed that his country will soon receive the S-300 air defense system from Russia. Mukambetov also mentioned that negotiations are ongoing for the procurement of additional air defense systems, with the delivery of the S-300 system expected in the coming months.

Kyrgyzstan’s current air defense capabilities primarily consist of Soviet-era systems, including the 9K32 Strela-2 and 9K35 Strela-10 short-range surface-to-air missile systems, the ZSU-23-4 Shilka self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, and the S-60 and S-75M3 Dvina anti-aircraft guns. The country also operates the S-125 Neva/Pechora missile system, which has been in service for decades.

In recent years, Kyrgyzstan has started modernizing its air defense infrastructure. This includes acquiring the Pechora-2BM air defense missile system from Belarus in 2023 and various drones from Turkey, such as the Bayraktar TB2, Akıncı, Aksungur, and Anka UAVs. Additionally, Kyrgyzstan is negotiating with Russia to acquire systems like the S-300 and potentially the S-400 in the future, aiming to integrate into a regional air defense network with Russia and neighboring countries.

Russia and Kyrgyzstan have been working towards establishing a joint regional air defense system under the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). This system aims to improve the collective defense capabilities of CIS member states, particularly in Central Asia, where air defense infrastructure has historically been less developed. Russia has similar agreements with other CIS countries, including Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Tajikistan.

Mukambetov referenced recent conflicts to highlight the importance of this acquisition: “Events in Ukraine and Israel have shown that this task must be taken seriously to ensure security. We are studying the experience of the air defense of Russia, Ukraine, and Israel. Experts conduct an analysis, noting all the pros and cons.”

This agreement is part of a broader military-technical cooperation established during President Sadyr Japarov’s visit to Russia in February 2021, which included discussions about future defense collaborations and indicated an enhanced military relationship between Kyrgyzstan and Russia, as well as Russia’s interest in maintaining a military presence in Central Asia amidst ongoing geopolitical developments. The agreement builds on an intergovernmental accord on military-technical cooperation signed eight years ago, under which Russia agreed to supply Kyrgyzstan with modern weapons and military equipment worth $1 billion.

The S-300 air defense system was developed by the Soviet Union in the late 1970s and has been continuously upgraded by Russia. Designed by the Almaz Central Design Bureau, it was one of the earliest integrated air defense systems capable of tracking multiple targets and engaging them with various missiles. Initially intended to protect critical military and industrial sites, the system has evolved through several variants, including the S-300P for the Air Defense Forces and the S-300V for the Ground Forces. These upgrades have kept it integral to Russia’s air defense strategy, making it a key component of their military infrastructure.

The S-300 system’s capabilities include tracking and engaging multiple targets simultaneously, detecting targets at ranges up to 300 kilometers, and operating at altitudes up to 27 kilometers. It can intercept aircraft, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles, with missiles reaching speeds of up to Mach 6. The system’s launchers can be reloaded in five minutes, allowing for a rapid response to threats. It operates in all weather conditions and is highly mobile, with components mountable on vehicles for quick deployment. These features make the S-300 a versatile air defense system, widely exported and used by various countries.

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