Friday, Nov 28, 2008
Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) are planning to conduct at least 13 launches of ballistic missiles next year, the SMF commander said on Friday.
“We are planning to carry out 13 launches in 2009: five test launches of new missiles, three launches to confirm the extension of missiles’ service lives, and five launches of converted SS-18 Satan ICBMs under the Dnepr program to orbit various satellites,” Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov said.
Russia’s SMF conducted seven launches of ballistic missiles in 2008 and postponed two launches until next year.
Solovtsov also said the SMF would commission in 2009 systems equipped with new-generation RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles, bearing multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warheads.
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“The elements of the first regiment equipped with this missile, comprising the command-and-control unit and a missile battalion, will be put on combat duty with the Teikovo missile division [in central Russia] in December 2009,” he said.
Russia carried out a third successful test of the RS-24 on November 26.
Solovtsov earlier said that the RS-24 ICBM, which is to replace the older SS-18 Satan and SS-19 Stiletto missiles by 2050, is expected to greatly strengthen the SMF’s strike capability, as well as that of its allies until the mid-21st century.
The missile will be deployed both in silos and on mobile platforms and together with the Topol-M single-warhead ICBM will constitute the core of Russia’s SMF in the future.
According to open sources, the total arsenal of Russia’s SMF comprises 536 ICBMs, including 306 SS-25 Topol (Sickle) missiles and 54 SS-27 Topol-M (Stalin) missiles.
Russia currently puts an average of three mobile and three or four silo-based Topol-M ballistic missile systems into operation every year.
Solovtsov said that Russia would cut the number of its strategic missile armies from three to two and strategic missile divisions from 12 to nine by 2016.
“Russia’s SMF is supposed to have two operational missile armies and nine missile divisions by January 1, 2016,” the SMF commander said.
This article was posted: Friday, November 28, 2008 at 4:57 am