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A new missile early warning radar station will go into service
A new missile early warning radar station will go into service by the end of the current year, the Russian Space Forces commander said on Friday.

Col.Gen. Vladimir Popovkin said construction of the Voronezh-type radar in Armavir in southwest Russia is going according to schedule.

"We intend to put the station on combat duty by the end of 2008," he said.

It was previously reported that the Armavir station would become operational in 2009.

With an effective range of 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) the Voronezh-type radar has capabilities similar to its predecessors, the Dnepr and Daryal, which are currently deployed outside Russia, but uses less power and is more environmentally friendly.

Russian top military officials said earlier the addition of new radars will provide comprehensive and reliable early warning coverage for the whole of Russia's territory.

Washington wants to place 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar station in the neighboring Czech Republic, purportedly to counter a missile threat from Iran and other "rogue" states. Russia has fiercely opposed the plans, saying the European shield would destroy the strategic balance of forces and threaten Russia's national interests.

President Vladimir Putin proposed last year setting up missile defense information exchange centers in Moscow and Brussels. Russia has also offered the U.S. use of radar stations at Armavir and Gabala in Azerbaijan, as alternatives to the missile shield deployment in Central Europe.


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