Kazakhstan to equip 10 battalions with S-300 air defense systems
ASTANA, February 19 (RIA Novosti) - Kazakhstan plans to equip 10 battalions with S-300 air defense missile systems bought from Russia, with deliveries to begin in 2009, a senior military official said on Thursday.
"We are considering the acquisition of 10 S-300 battalions from Russia in 2009," said Amanzhol Ospanov, head of the Kazakh Defense Ministry's weapons and materiel department.
The official added that each battalion "would comprise four launchers and support equipment," which could include a mobile command post and a target-designation radar.
Although Ospanov was not specific about a particular version of the S-300, he said that these systems had previously been in service with the Russian Armed Forces and would be delivered to Kazakhstan after being overhauled.
The latest version of the S-300 family is the S-300PMU2 Favorit, which has a range of up to 195 kilometers (about 120 miles) and can intercept aircraft and ballistic missiles at altitudes from 10 meters to 27 kilometers.
It is considered one of the world's most effective all-altitude regional air defense systems, comparable in performance to the U.S. MIM-104 Patriot system.
Ospanov said Kazakhstan has no plans of buying Russia's most advanced S-400 Triumph air defense systems in the near future "because of their high price."
Russia announced last year it was planning to expand military-technical cooperation with members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and set up an integrated air defense network with them.
The CSTO is a post-Soviet security grouping comprising Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Kazakh Defense Minister Danial Akhmetov said on February 12 that the delivery of S-300 systems "would help the republic's integration into the CSTO and significantly enhance the protection of the country's airspace."