The CSTO joint air defense initiative appears to be bearing some fruit, with Russian air defense radars in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan getting an upgrade, Russian media report:
Within the framework of military-technical cooperation with countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Russia will upgrade radar stations in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as will supply spare parts and equipment for air defence hardware of CIS states...
The radar station P-18 will be partially updated in Kyrgyzstan, and a similar radar station will be updated in Tajikistan. The Almaz-Antei air defence concern has received applications from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and considers supplies of spare parts and equipment for air defence hardware in these countries.
Not much is specified about what sort of upgrade this will be, but Interfax suggests it will affect the "information display":
"In accordance with a contract with the Nitel company, signed in 2009, the RLS-P-18 radar in Kyrgyzstan will be partially modernized, with the installation of an information display at the command post of the surface-to-air missile brigade," the report says.
In line with a contract signed by the Russian state arms trader Rosoboronexport, a similar radar will be upgraded in Tajikistan.
As background, last year CSTO general secretary Nikolai Bordyuzha said:
"We are planning to create within the framework of our organization three regional air defense systems including Russia-Belarus, Russia-Armenian in the Caucasus region and the Central Asian air defense system," Bordyuzha added.
The joint air defense project, which would combine early warning systems of member states and create a single control center, has been talked about for years. Bordyuzha did not say when the project would finally be accomplished.
Out of seven ODKB states only Russia has a major modern air defense system capable of detecting and destroying both airplanes and missiles. Russia also has several major radars in ex-Soviet states.
And an epic analysis at the excellent IMINT & Analysis blog shows how essential this broader air defense network is to Russia's defense. Just another reminder of how deep are the military ties between Russia and these countries.