The Russian Air Force has successfully tested an upgraded version of its missile defense system, firing off a modernized anti-ballistic missile from a testing facility in Kazakhstan. The test was caught on film.
The missile was test-fired on Thursday from the Sary Shagan testing range located in the steppe of Kazakhstan, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Though the Defense Ministry did not disclose the type of the missile, it released a spectacular video showing the cylindrical projectile being transported on a heavy truck and then uploaded into a silo.
“The anti-ballistic missile followed the flight plan and successfully hit a mock target,” said Colonel Andrey Prikhodko of the Russian Air Force. The officer did not elaborate on the test, but said all objectives of the test “have been completed in full.”
Russia is among the few military powers to have developed a fully-operational ballistic missile defense system, commonly known as the A-135. The 53T6 anti-ballistic missile, the main component of the A-135, is believed to protect the airspace around Moscow.
According to the Defense Ministry the system, comprising interceptor missiles and sophisticated early warning radars, is also designed for monitoring outer space. The system is currently in use with the Russian Air Force.
The news comes at a time when Washington is building up its ballistic missile shield in Europe. Recently, the US has installed a new Aegis Ashore missile defense system in Romania, sparking fresh tensions with Russia. Poland is to install its component of the missile shield in 2018.
While the US insists that the Aegis Ashore systems are installed to help protect European allies from Iran or North Korea’s missile threats, Moscow believes that the systems can be easily adapted to deploy offensive weapons.