The Tor-M (NATO reporting name SA-15 Gauntlet) is a low to medium-altitude, short-range surface-to-air missile system designed for intercepting aircraft, cruise missiles, precision guided munitions, unmanned aerial vehicles and ballistic targets.
"More than 50% of air defense systems in service with the Ground Forces are outdated," the press service quoted Colonel General Nikolai Frolov, commander of the Ground Forces' air defense, as saying.
"In order to improve the situation, we have decided to modernize the existing systems," the general said at a command-post exercise at the Kapustin Yar testing ground in southern Russia.
He said the improved Tor-M2 version features significantly enhanced target acquisition capabilities and shorter minimum range - 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) - compared to its predecessor.
Frolov also announced plans to upgrade the Osa (NATO reporting name SA-8 Gecko), the most popular air defense system of the Ground Forces (about 400 units are in service), as well as the Tunguska missile-gun system, the Buk-M1 and the Strela-10 air defense missile systems.
He said the Buk-M3, a modernized version of the Buk-M1 system (NATO reporting name SA-11 Gadfly), will be deployed in 2009. It will feature advanced electronic components and could be regarded as a completely new system.
The Strela-10 air defense missile system (NATO reporting name SA-13 Gopher) will also be replaced in 2009 by an advanced version capable of operating in all weather conditions and at any time of day, the general said.
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Earlier this month, Russia hosted the Fourth International Meeting of the Arctic Council at Naryan-Mar, a seaport in the Barents Sea, to discuss issues relating to the infrastructure and safety of ships passing through the Northern Sea Route (NSR).