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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow to Upgrade Its ABM Shield

A missile defense system that protects the city of Moscow, the only such shield in the world, is likely to be upgraded in the next few years, Itar-Tass reported Friday.

Itar-Tass quoted an unidentified Russian military-industrial complex official as saying there are plans to modernize the system's energy and mechanical equipment, a computer complex, transmitting and receiving devices and other systems. The system's overhaul is expected to be carried out within three to four years, the official said.

A Defense Ministry spokesman, who asked not to be named, said the military has no immediate plan to make any upgrade of the system, but added that struggling weapons makers would welcome such an order.

The Soviet Union deployed the A-35 anti-ballistic missile system, consisting of radars and 64 missile interceptors, around Moscow in 1974. In later years, that system was continually modified to enhance its ability to intercept ballistic missiles with independently targeted multiple warheads. The latest version, the A-135, which includes both long- and medium-range missile interceptors, was put on duty in 1994.

Moscow's missile defense system complied with the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which allows both the United States and Russia to protect a single site with no more than 100 interceptors. The United States had a similar system to protect missile fields in North Dakota in the 1970s but shut it down.

U.S. President George W. Bush told Russia in December that in six months his country would withdraw from the ABM Treaty, which bars a nationwide missile shield of the kind the U.S. administration wants to deploy.

Former Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev, who now is President Vladimir Putin's military adviser, said in an interview published Friday that the United States should put restrictions on its missile shield to prove that it is not aimed against Russia. "Unlimited missile defense assumes the active use of space systems, and that would signal that that it is aimed also against Russia," he told the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily.