Military Wiki
Russian Aerospace Defence Forces
Большая эмблема Космических войск России.png
Emblem of the Aerospace Defence Forces
Active 1 December 2011-
Country Russia
Allegiance Ministry of Defence
Type Air/Missile Defence
Anniversaries 4 October (Space Forces Day)
Major General Aleksandr Golovko [1]

The Aerospace Defence Forces (Russian: Войска воздушно-космической обороны, romanized: Voyska Vozdushno-Kosmicheskoy Oborony [2] or VKO[3]) is the branch of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation responsible for air and missile defence, and the operation of Russian military satellites and the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. Formed on 1 December 2011, it replaced the Space Forces.[4] The VKO was first commanded by former Space Forces commander Col Gen Oleg Ostapenko, who was promoted to Deputy Minister of Defence in November 2012.[5][6] On 24 December 2012 Aleksandr Golovko was appointed the new commander.[1] Although it is officially translated as aerospace in English[7] it covers both attacks from the air and from (outer)space, and some Russian writers translate it as "air and space" instead.[5][8]


In 1967 the Anti-Missile and Anti-Space Defence Forces were formed (Russian: войска противоракетной и противокосмической обороны [ПРО и ПКО], romanized: Voyska Protivoraketnoy i Protivokosmicheskoy Oborony [PRO i PKO]) under Artillery Lieutenant General Yu. Votintsev.[9] They were reorganised as the Ministry of Defence Space Units in 1982. In 1991 the Soviet Union was broken up. The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation were established on 7 May 1992, enabling the creation of Russian Space Forces later that year on 10 August. They were merged with the Strategic Missile Troops in 1996, but were reformed in 2001.

In 2006 President Vladimir Putin agreed with the idea of a new "Air and Space Defence Concept" from 2016, but without the implication that it would be a separate service. In 2008 Aleksandr Zelin argued that the missile defence and space defence forces should be merged into the Air Force.[8]

On 30 November 2010 President Dmitry Medvedev said that air and space defence services would be under a single strategic command and the General Staff and Ministry of Defence had decided it would be on the basis of the Space Forces. In April 2011 the then Space Forces commander Oleg Ostapenko said that concept for the future system had been approved. The service was created by the presidential decree “On changes to the composition of the Russian Armed Forces until January 1, 2016” which has not been published.[8]

Thus, on December 1, 2011, the Space Forces became the Aerospace Defence Forces, fusing all space and some air defence components into one joint service.


Lekhtusi Radar Station

The new service consists of the Air and Space Defence Command; and the Space Command. The structure is as follows:[5][7][8]

It is led by Oleg Maydanovich, former head of the Titov Centre.[8]

  • Air and Space Defence Command (Russian: Командование противовоздушной и противоракетной обороны (К ПВО И ПРО)):
    • 9th Missile Defence Division (A-135 anti-ballistic missile system) in Pushkino[10]
    • 4th Missile Defence Brigade in Dolgoprudny
    • 5th Missile Defence Brigade in Vidnoye
    • 6th Missile Defence Brigade in Rzhev

It is headed up by Sergey Popov who was formerly in charge of air defence in the Air Force.[8]

The Aerospace Defence Forces are located across Russia and have bases in some Commonwealth of Independent States countries such as early warning radars in Azerbaijan (until December 2012), Kazakhstan and Belarus, and the Okno facility in Tajikistan.


Early warning of missile attack:

Voronezh radar at Lekhtusi, Armavir, Kaliningrad and Mileshevka
Daryal radar at Pechora
Volga radar at Hantsavichy
Dnepr radar at Balkhash, Irkutsk and Olenegorsk
Oko early warning satellites

Space surveillance:

Okno in Tajikistan
Krona in Zelenchukskaya and Nakhodka

Missile defence:

A-135 anti-ballistic missile system
Don-2N radar

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 "New commander of the Air and Space Defense Forces". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. 24 December 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  2. "Войска Воздушно-космической обороны заступают на боевое дежурство в РФ" (in Russian). RIA Novosti. 1 December 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2011. 
  3. "Войска воздушно-космической обороны" (in Russian). Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. undated. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  4. "Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces go on duty to stave off missile threats". RIA Novosti. 1 December 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2011. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Russia creates Air and Space Defense Forces". 1 December 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2011. 
  6. "Oleg Ostapenko". Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. undated. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Structure". Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. undated. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Stukalin, Alexander (May 2012). "Russian Air and Space Defense Troops: Gaping Holes". Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies. 
  9. "4 октября - День военно-космических сил России" (in Russian). October 4 - Day of Military Space Forces in Russia. Prazdnuem. undated. 
  10. See also Michael Holm,, accessed August 2012.

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