The US Military will have the airborne strike capability to hit any part of Russia within two decades, according to the head of the Russian Air Force. On this basis, he said, the Russian military intends to construct and implement advanced 21st century air defence technology as a counter-mechanism.
"The development of air and space offensive weapons by foreign states demonstrates that by 2030 radical changes will take place in the exploration of air and space as an integral sphere of armed struggle", General Alexander Zelin was quoted by news organisations in Russia as having stated on August 10th. He added: "Air forces of foreign states, primarily that of the United States, will gain an opportunity to make coordinated, high-precision strikes on a global scale at practically all targets on the territory of the Russian Federation."
Zelin was not quoted as having elaborated on the exact nature of the strike/strikes expected, not on which nations, US aside, the perceived threats could emanate from.
Russian Armed Forces
18 years ago, Russia (then part of the USSR) and the US co-signed START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) - an agreement which limited both to a specified level of nuclear arms within their weapons inventories. START-1 runs out at the end of 2009, and a replacement deal is set to be struck up in its wake. Two months ago, the Russian Defence Ministry expressed hope that the new Obama administration would not take up the reigns of the George Bush-era space weapons proposals, adding that the Russian armed forces would be prepared to retaliate, if necessary.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is presently urging his US counterpart to abandon the projected US Missile Defence Shield, which would see radar facilities and missile technologies positioned at sites within Eastern Europe. Russia has long contested the idea of such a defence network - predominantly stating that it represents a threat to national security.
According to Zelin's quoted comments, a dedicated Russian air/space defence system will be operational within the Russian Military by 2020.
"In coordination with all kinds of troops of Russia's armed forces it must be ready to deter potential aggressors at regional and global levels in peaceful times and to rebuff an armed aggression by its entire arsenal of conventional and nuclear weapons during a war", he stated.
Russian Military Technology
One new Russian military technology currently under development, Zelin added, is the S-500 surface-to-air rocket, which is "able to implement in full the tasks of air and space defence and is capable of engaging ballistic hypersonic targets flying at a speed of 5 kilometres per second."
"The S-500 system is being developed under an original design ... and will be capable of destroying hypersonic and ballistic targets", he added.
Hypersonic aircraft designs are also on the cards, but are at a less advanced stage. Previously, a fifth-generation combat aircraft was slated to have entered test flight stage by around October 2009.