SOFIA, (BM) – Russia’s anti-aircraft missile defense system, the S-400 Triumph, poses a real threat to Bulgaria and NATO, Prof. Momchil Doichev, Co-Chairman of the Atlantic Council said on Saturday, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
His statement is according allegations and so far only rumors have it that a S-400 remained in the territory of Serbia after the Russian-Serbian Slavic Shield exercise at the end of October this year.
“The problem is not so much that we gave permission because it is partly due to the treaties between the EU, NATO and Russia, Serbia, but rather that we do not know if this anti-aircraft system has really stayed in Serbia or returned in Russia. Even if it returned to Russia, it is worrying that these Russian-Serbian maneuvers at the Serbian Batajnica base near Belgrade turned out to be annual. This means that the S-400 Triumph will practically stay there, and this is already a threat to the security not only of flights but of the security of all NATO countries,” Prof. Doichev said.
What really is the S-400 Triumph?
S-400 ant-aircraft defense system is an updated version of the old Soviet S-300 system. However, the S-300 is still in service, both in Russia and in Bulgaria, and other former socialist countries. But not only in these countries – Greece also has it.
A number of international publications, including the US, claim the S-400 missile system is one of the most dangerous in the world.
In 2017, the American magazine The Economist identified the S-400 Triumph as “one of the best air defense systems ever made” and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said the “S-400 is among the most modern systems that the world currently has.”
Contrary to expectations, the missile arsenal and precision of defeat do not make it so unique.
The uniqueness comes from the 96L6E2 type radar, which is entirely Russian development from the new “renaissance” era of the Russian military-industrial complex.
The Radar 96L6E2 detects absolutely all types of aircraft, fighters, bombers and stealth technology aircraft that the world is familiar with and has today. It works on any terrain – rough terrain, forests and mountains. The radar can locate and capture in tracking mode 100 targets at a time.
The ballistic range of the missiles is up to 230 square kilometers. Separately, locating a foreign aircraft, the radar has an “automatic launch” mode within a radius of 580 km.
Another advantage of S-400`s radar technology is possibility to locate and fire on cruise missiles.
Currently, Russia is in the final stages of developing their new S-500 anti-aircraft defense suystem, which will have an updated version of the radar system and be armed with hypersonic missiles.
There are still rumors, but it is said that in addition to Russia, Turkey and India will be involved in this project as equal partners.
What else did Prof. Momchil Doichev say?
According to the professor, the existence of a military base near Nis could be a problem not only for Bulgaria but also for other NATO members.
However, the fact remains that the rumor about the “abandoned” S-400 in the territory of Serbia remains interesting because it concerns the activity of Bulgaria as a NATO member.
“If our government wanted such an inspection to be carried out on Bulgarian territory, it would be unlikely that Russia would conclude a contract with Serbia that would virtually leave the S-400 near the base in Belgrade,” the expert said.
This statement is disturbing and raises the following questions:
- Why we did not check what Russian military equipment is crossing Bulgaria, given that we are a NATO member and a European border?
- Is it a regular practice for the Bulgarian services not to check foreign military equipment passing through the country?
- What are the principles for choosing “what are the criteria that determine what is checked and what is not”?
- Did the Russian government know that Bulgaria would not carry out a check on passing military equipment to afford a contract with Serbia that would actually leave the S-400 in Serbia?
What did Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic say and what not?
During the Russian-Serbian Slavic Shield exercise, Serbia has purchased another Russian air defense system known as the Pantsir. It is logical that some local journalists ask Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic whether Serbia will buy the S-400.
“What I saw? This is an impressive system (S-400). But we do not plan to buy it because we have no money to pay it, since we are building highways and investing in many other projects … You know that if you have such a weapon, no one will ever attack you. In places with S-400 systems, US or other aircraft do not fly. We have aviation – stronger than ever and will strengthen our defense systems with the Pantsir missile system and other things not on the US sanctions list”, were the words of the Serbian president.
Neither he nor anyone else wanted to answer whether a S-400 remained in Serbia after the joint exercise.
Experience shows, however, that at the moment, Vladimir Putin is not so interested in whether any of the current partners of the Russian Federation can pay for an air defense system. Recall that earlier this year, Russia donated a S-300 to the Syrian army, and two years ago did the same to Iran.
Only doubts remain. And if they turn out to be correct, the questions above still waitng their answers.
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