Moscow: Russia placed its new Voronezh-M long-range missile warning radar on duty in the Irkutsk region of Siberia Wednesday.
"At 10:15 a.m. on May 23, it was put on duty," said Lt. Gen. Oleg Ostapenko, the commander of Russia`s Aerospace Defence Forces.
"This unique station has massive capabilities and is a key link in carrying out our strategic tasks given to us by the high command. It plays a key role in the missile early warning chain," he said at the opening ceremony for the Voronezh-M radar station.
"Once a second Voronezh-M is built, we will no longer have to rely on the Dnepr missile early warning system radar," he added.
With the introduction of the second station, the system will have its coverage doubled, covering an arc from India to the US.
The new station can also be more quickly deployed to a new site and requires a smaller crew to operate it compared to previous-generation stations. The Voronezh-M radar station also uses 40 percent less energy.
Former Strategic Missile Forces Chief of Staff Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin said the new Voronezh-M radar station covers the northeast of the US and China, and has not been discussed in missile defence talks between Russia and NATO.
The Voronezh-M can detect ballistic targets up to 6,000 km, while the older Dnepr radar can only detect them at up to 2,500 km, Yesin said.