Plans for the development of the U.S.-led global air defense shield envisage the modernization of 48-49 ships equipped with interceptor missiles of this shield by 2020, Col. Oleg Pyshny, who heads a department at the 4th Central Scientific Research Institute of the Russian Defense Ministry, has said.
"We expect some 48-49 American ships [equipped] with systems of the air defense shield to be modernized by 2020," he told a press conference at the Interfax central office on July 21.
The overall number of interceptor missiles installed onboard U.S. ships equipped with air defense systems may reach approximately 200 by 2020, he said.
The strengthening of the U.S. missile defense shield poses certain threats "both to the maritime component of the Russian strategic nuclear forces and RVSN, in particular certain European position areas," he said.
"The measures and means are needed to offset the threats that are available. All necessary requirements [to overpower missile defense shields] are determined by the characteristics of the advanced systems. In the end, Russia has a significant territory, and we can develop this group in the depth of our territory," the colonel said.
"Our use of adequate response steps is able to offset these threats," Pyshny said.
At the same time, he said that this work would require major resources and, for this reason, it was important to resume the suspended dialogue with Europe "and try to reach agreements in order to ensure that the European missile defense shield develops while taking our interests into consideration."
"Although given the way the situation is developing today, there is not much chance of that happening," the expert said.
For his part, Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin, an advisor to the RVSN commander, said that today the European segment of the U.S.-led global air defense system includes bases of interceptor missiles in Romania and Poland, and ships equipped with Aegis ballistic missile defense systems with Standard 3 interceptor missiles.
Two such ships are based in Spain today, he said, adding that their number would grow to four by the end of the year.
"Twenty-four launch systems for Standard 3 ground-based missiles will be deployed in Romania by the end of the year, and there will be 24 such launchers in Poland in 2018 as well," Yesin said.
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