In compliance with the Russian presidential decree, a new branch of Russia's Armed Forces - the Aerospace Forces - began tackling its tasks from August 1, Russian Defense Minister Gen. Sergei Shoigu said during a conference call on Aug. 3.
"The process of forming the Aerospace Forces through a merger of the Air Force and the Aerospace Defense Forces was the most optimal way of upgrading the country's aerospace defense system," he said.
"Their creation was prompted by a shift of the 'center of gravity' in combat struggle to the aerospace sphere," the minister said.
"Aviation, the air defense and missile defense forces and the space forces and means of the Armed Forces have now been merged under a unified command," Shoigu said.
"First and foremost, this will make it possible to concentrate the entire responsibility for forming a military-technological policy aimed at developing the forces tackling tasks in the aerospace sphere in a 'single pair of hands', secondly, make their use more effective by promoting closer integration, and, thirdly, ensure the step-by-step development of the country's aerospace defense system," the minister said.
The new Aerospace Forces include the Air Force, the Air Defense and Missile Defense Forces and the Space Forces, a Russian Defense Ministry source told Interfax-AVN.
"All of them will tackle their tasks as intended. At the same time, all forces and personnel will report to a single command center - the Main Command of the Aerospace Forces. The Aerospace Forces' Main Command, for its part, will report to the country's National Defense Control Center," he said.
The merger of the Air Force and the Aerospace Defense Forces will provide a comprehensive approach to countering ballistic and aerodynamic targets both in outer space and in the air, he said.
"It will be a comprehensive system, which will help detect and eliminate targets even at distant approaches. It can be viewed as our response to the Prompt Global Strike concept being implemented by the U.S.," the source said.
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