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Putin visits new radar station near Baltics

Putin likes to take "a hands on approach"
by Staff Writers
Saint Petersburg (AFP) Aug 11, 2007
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday asked the country's defence chiefs to work to modernise the nation's armed forces, during a visit to a new radar station near Saint Petersburg.

The Voronezh station at Lekhtusi was "a first step in a vast programme which will run until 2015," he said.

"I hope that the new defence ministry chiefs will do everything possible to make sure that the armed forces will be modernised," he added.

The state-of-the-art Voronezh station was inaugurated in December, according to Russian press reports.

Putin's visit came amid continued Russian criticism of US plans to site an anti-missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland.

The United States insists the shield is aimed at knocking out the threat from nations such as Iran and North Korea.

Russia says the plan threatens its security and has suggested that the United States and NATO use the Gabala radar station in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan instead of having a shield in central Europe.

Azerbaijan borders Iran, one of the countries that Washington says it needs to protect itself against.

Putin also on Saturday criticised Russia's aircraft industry, raising doubts over plans from Russian group UAC to produce 300 airplanes a year by 2025.

"Today, the competitive capacity of our aviation engines is unfortunately very weak," Putin said.

"The problems that exist are slowing the achievement of important aircraft projects. I am talking mainly about the plans of UAC, which has set a goal of producing 300 airliners per year."

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Russia To Boost Space Defense With New Missile System
Moscow, Russia (RIA Novosti) Aug 09, 2007
Russia is developing a fifth-generation air defense missile system that is superior to S-400 Triumf complex and capable of hitting targets in space, the Air Force commander said Wednesday. Russia recently deployed the first S-400 air defense battalion to protect the airspace around Moscow, and is planning to equip over two dozen battalions with the system by 2015. "While working on the S-400, we have been developing a fifth-generation air defense system, which will be more compact, more maneuverable, and will certainly have superior technical characteristics," Colonel General Alexander Zelin said.

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