Russia celebrates National Day of Anti-Aircraft Defence Forces

On Sunday, Russia marks its National Day of Anti-Aircraft Defence Forces. The holiday has been officially celebrated since 1975, but the history of anti-aircraft defence in Russia goes further back to the WW1.

The first time Russia needed anti-aircraft defence was during the WW1, when Tsar Nikolay the Second was still on the Imperial throne. 

Back then there were no arms specifically designed for the job, so the military had to use naval and field artillery.

It was the Soviet authorities who formed the first ever artillery division out of special trains and other mobile machinery on April 8, 1918. 

But it wasn’t until the WW2 that the anti-aircraft artillery proved to be vital in fending off attacks from the skies.

Nowadays, Russia’s anti-aircraft defence is made up of various types of artillery – but relies mainly on the S-300 (NATO codenamed SA-10 Grumble) systems. And this year Russia’s military command plans to put the modern S-400 systems, also known by NATO as the SA-21 Growler into operation. It is unique in its ability to repel attacks from outer space.

“After we receive the new systems and test them, they will be put to military use in late August,” said Yury Soloviev, Special-Purpose Forces Commander.   

Russia’s anti-aircraft forces go through constant training to be ready to defend against any kind of aerial attack. 

Back in the Soviet times, anti-artillery defence was often called the “shield of the motherland”. The Soviet Union has collapsed, but the shield is set to stay.