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'Russia building new star wars missiles'

world Updated: Aug 11, 2009 16:11 IST

AFP
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Russia is developing new missiles to counter space-based missile systems that could soon be deployed by the United States, Russia's air force commander was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

"We are building new missiles that will be capable of defending not only against air-defence systems but space-based systems," General Alexander Zelin said, quoted by Russian news agencies.

The United States and other countries will have deployed such satellite-based missile systems capable of striking any target in Russia by 2030, he said.

"Foreign air forces, above of all the United States, will acquire the capability to deal time-synchronized precision strikes on a global scale at virtually any target on Russia territory," Zelin said.

The threat "is not virtual, but real," he added.

To counter such potential, Russia has begun work on the S-500 surface-to-air missile system that would have ballistic missile tracking capabilities and aim at a range of up to 3,500 kilometers, according to defence reports.

"The S-500 system is capable of defeating all manner of ballistic missiles and supersonic air devices," Zelin said.

Moscow vehemently opposes US plans to site a missile defence shield in Eastern Europe and has reacted warily to plans under the previous US administration it claimed had accelerated the militarisation of outer space.

Washington insists its shield plan is not directed against Russia but threats from "rogue states" such as Iran.

Last year, when the US military was planning to shoot down a rogue US spy satellite, Russia's defence ministry said the plans looked like a veiled weapons test and an "attempt to move the arms race into space."

Both Russia and China have proposed a new treaty banning the use of weapons in space, but the idea was rejected by the White House.