Iskander-M, Russia’s response to US shield

Iskander-M, Russia’s response to US shield

Iskander-M, Russia’s response to US shield

Russian PM Medvedev visits the proving ground of a missile research center in Kolomna, outside Moscow, with Vasily Kashin, head of the research center. AP photo

The Iskander-M tactical missile system, which surpasses similar foreign weapons, should become the basis of Russia’s ground forces, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said, speaking at a conference dedicated to the modernization of defense industry facilities in the city of Kolomna near Moscow, TV Channel Russia Today reported on its website July 23.

Russia is allocating $1.2 billion to modernize the weapon, which could render the U.S. missile defense system in Europe useless. Prime Minister Medvedev said the Russian army must make the Iskander-M its main weapon.

“The Iskander-M is certainly one of the most efficient weapons in its class and, in our opinion, is far ahead of foreign analogs,” Medvedev said at a meeting on the development of Russia’s defense industry. These systems should become the core of the ground forces’ missile units, Medvedev said. The government has allocated 24 billion rubles (over $740 million) to 17 enterprises for the serial production of Iskander-M missile systems, RIA Novosti cited Medvedev as saying.

The arms-manufacturing plants will contribute 16 billion rubles (about $495 million) of their own funds to the project, Medvedev said during his visit to the Kolomna Machine-Building Design Bureau (KBM), which makes Iskander missiles.

The Iskander missile system was officially adopted by the Russian Army in 2006.

High demand for Iskander-E

“The demand for Iskander-E is quite high, but the domestic market remains the priority today,” Russia Today said. “The re-equipping of the enterprises will begin in 2014. As soon as the majority of contracts with the Defense Ministry are fulfilled, the export trend will be intensified, thanks to the modernization.” The Iskander tactical missile system has become Moscow’s counter-argument in the dispute over the U.S.’s planned missile defense shield in Europe, which Russia sees as a threat to its national security.