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In the mid 1950s the Soviets concluded that they could develop anti-missile systems to counter medium range ballistic missiles (MRBM). The Galosh and ABM-3 systems, which were deployed only at Moscow, and the dual purpose anti-aircraft/missile (SAM/ABM) SA-5 and SA-10/12 systems, which were deployed nationwide, were all developed at the Sary Shagan range (on the Western shore of Lake Balkhash). Target missiles were SS-3 and (mostly) SS-4 MRBMs launched from Kapustin Yar (across the river from Stalingrad, now Volgograd): maximum target velocity 3-3,5 km./sec.; range ~2,000 km.; and maximum altitude ~1,000 km. With the exception of one interceptor (Gazelle) deployed at Moscow in 1987, all Soviet interceptors had maximum velocities that were a fraction of that of ICBMs. Although the maximum velocity of the Galosh missile has not been reported, it most probably was around 2 km./sec. This also applies to the Gorgon, a modernized Galosh, currently deployed with the ABM-3 at Moscow. Moreover, these interceptors had low initial launch acceleration rates.

The interceptor missiles of the first generation SAM/ABM, the SA-5, had maximum velocities around 1.5 km./sec. Both the original SA-10 (Russian S-300P) interceptor and the anti-aircraft interceptor for the SA-12 (Russian S-300V) had maximum velocities of ~1.7 km./sec. Subsequent modernizations of the SA-10 (Russian S-300 PMU-1 & PMU-2) raised the maximum velocity to over 2 km./sec., approaching the 2.4 km./sec. maximum velocity of the SA-12 TMD interceptor. The SA-12 variant (S-300V) was designed to protect Soviet Ground Forces from both tactical aircraft and missiles.

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