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19 June 2015

An Arctic Dawn - Russia Developing Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft System for Arctic

Russia's KBP Instrument Design Bureau is considering developing a special tracked version of its PANTSIR (SA-22 Greyhound) self-propelled anti-aircraft gun and missile system for use in the Arctic. The PANTSIR is typically mounted on a wheeled chassis, however its maneuverability in the heavy snow is "significantly restricted," Vladimir Popov, director general of the KBP subsidiary JSC Scheglovsky Val, recently told news sources. He said that the idea of basing the PANTSIR on the special tracked chassis produced by the JSC Ishimbayskiy machine-building plant was being studied and that some follow-up experiments were also planned to test its viability in polar areas.

Popov said that KBP had previously integrated PANTSIR's combat module and radar on the tracked GMZ-352M1E chassis produced by the JSC Minsky track plant for the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The director general also disclosed that KBP was working to increase the PANTSIR's reliability in severe climate conditions.

The United States has plans to ask Canada to install a new missile sensor system in that country's part of the Arctic, in order to upgrade old sensors and be able to detect multiple types of missile threats. The PANTSIR system is already “protecting Russia's northern borders," he said, adding that, "three serial-wheeled SA-22s have been deployed at the Temp air base (on Kotelny Island) since 2014."

The operating temperature range of the PANTSIR modification for the Russian armed forces runs from -50°-50°. Bolstering Russia’s presence in the Arctic region is part of the country’s military strategy through 2020. President Vladimir Putin said in late 2014 that Russia is not planning to militarise the Arctic, but is taking necessary measures to ensure its security in the region.

Russia's revised military doctrine, signed by Putin in December 2014, for the first time named the protection of national interests in the Arctic among the main priorities for its Armed Forces in times of peace. According to Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov, one of Russia's main objectives in the Arctic is the protection of natural resources on its territory, the total cost of which exceeds $30 trillion, according to the Emergencies Ministry. "A division of ORLAN-10 UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] of the Eastern Military District, stationed in Chukotka, will start monitoring the Arctic region starting from 1 May ," Antonov said earlier this year, adding that the drones will, "perform the tasks of objective control over the situation in the Russian Arctic, including environmental and ice conditions in the near maritime zone and the area of the Northern Sea Route."

Russia has been actively exploring the Arctic region, laying claims to the oil and natural gas deposits within its offshore border areas, along with four other Arctic nations – the US, Canada, Norway, and Denmark.

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