The Iskander is extremely difficult to intercept with current missile defense technologies
The Russians aren't taking any chances. And with very good reason.
We reported earlier this month about how Moscow had successfully re-vamped its missile attack warning system, which now covers the entire country:
When the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia's missile attack warning system became an incomplete patchwork of radars, creating serious vulnerabilities. Not anymore. Moscow has finally completed a unified anti-missile radar defense system which covers its entire territory with advanced Voronezh radars capable of detecting enemy missile launches up to 6,000 kilometers away. Russia's radar system isn't just massive — it's also extremely effective. The use of multiple radars to track a single target makes it possible to better calculate an incoming missile’s trajectory.
Detection is important, but what about fighting back? According to Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, the Russian Army will fully switch over to Iskander tactical missile systems in 2017, defending the country’s entire territory from all types of the enemy attacks:
"We’ll complete the rearmament and the switchover to Iskander complexes across the country this year. Some of our [radar] stations are on experimental combat duty today but this year all of them will switch over to the mode of combat alert and we’ll fully cover the entire perimeter, all the country’s radar field for missiles of all types, all trajectories, including ballistic paths," the defense minister said.
But what are these Iskander systems designed for? A lot of things. The National Interest explains:
The Iskander was designed to evade missile defenses. According to Missile Threat, the weapon can maneuver at more than 30g during its terminal phase. It’s also equipped with decoys to spoof interceptor missiles. As such, the Iskander is extremely difficult to intercept with current missile defense technologies.
The Iskander is not a strategic weapon—it’s a tactical ballistic missile. During combat operations, it would be used to destroy both stationary and moving targets. Targets would range from surface-to-air missile batteries, enemy short-range missiles, airfields, ports, command and communication centers, factories and other hardened targets.
There are also reports that Iskander systems have already been deployed to Russia's airbase in Latakia, Syria.