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Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces plan 11 ICBM launches in 2012

January 04, 2012, 18:34 UTC+3

Four launches will be carried out for the purpose extending service life and seven under experimental programmes to test new missiles

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MOSCOW, January 4 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces (RVSN) plan 11 intercontinental ballistic missile launches for 2012, RVSN spokesman, Colonel Oleg Koval told Itar-Tass on Wednesday, January 4.

“Four launches will be carried out for the purpose extending service life and seven under experimental programmes to test new missiles and improve existing ones with a view to piercing missile defence systems,” he said.

In the training year 2011 (from December 1, 2010 to December 1, 2011), RVSN made four ICBM launches. Two of them were experimental, one was carried out for the purpose of extending service life, and one under the Dnept conversion programme.

One more ICBM launch took place in late December 2011 for the purpose of extending the service life of RS-18B ICBMs to 33 years.

A second regiment from the Teikovo missile force division in the Ivanovo region will be rearmed with the newest Yars RS-24 ICBM systems in 2012.

Rearmament will also start at the Novosibirsk and Kozelsk missile divisions this year.

“In the Kozelsk division the Yars system will be deployed in silos. In the future, several more divisions will be armed with these systems,” Koval said earlier.

“When a second missile regiment is armed with the newest Yars systems consisting of MIRVed RS-24 ICBMs, the rearmament of the Teikovo missile force with Topol-M and Yars system will on the whole be completed,” the spokesman for the Strategic Rocket Forces told Itar-Tass earlier.

With the start of the summer training season, special attention has been paid to combat duty practices in a simulated combat environment.

The first missile regiment in the Teikovo missile force has already been fully manned.

“On March 4, the regiment composed of two missile divisions armed with the Yars system with the RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile went on combat duty,” Koval said.

“The divisions carried out the tasks of trial duty and confirmed all of the declared tactical and technical characteristics of the missile system, its reliability,” Koval said.

With the adoption of the RS-24 system, “the Strategic Rocket Forces increased their capability for piercing missile defence”, the spokesman said.

“This has strengthened the nuclear deterrence capabilities of the Russian strategic forces,” he added.

Koval said RS-24 missiles would replace RS-18 and RS-20 missiles that will be decommissioned upon the end of their service life.

The RS-24 Yars missile system was put on combat duty in Russia last summer.

Silo-based and mobile missile systems Topol-M, as well as RS-24 mobile missile systems were designed by the Moscow Heat Engineering Institute.

The warheads of Russia's newest Topol-M and RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles can pierce any of the existing of future missile defences, the current commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces Commander, Lieutenant-General Sergei Karakayev said earlier.

“The combat capability of silo-based and mobile Topol-M ICBMs is several times higher than that of Topol missiles. They can pierce any of the existing and future missile defence systems. RS-24 missiles have even better performance,” Karakayev said.

In December 2011, Karakayev said that the Strategic Rocket Forces’ attack capabilities included more than 350 launch systems for different types of missiles, “two-thirds of all carriers and more than half of Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons”.

He said the strategic nuclear forces would have 86 Topol-M and Yars systems by the end of 2011.

The Strategic Rocket Forces have six regiments armed with silo-based Topol-M missiles and two regiments armed with mobile Topol-M missiles. Each missile carries a single warhead. Last year, Russia began deploying RS-24 ICBMs with MIRVs. There is currently one regiment armed with RS-24 missiles.

Speaking of other ICBMs, Karakayev said that RS-20V Voyevoda (Satan by Western classification) would remain in service until 2026. “Their service life has been extended to 33 years,” he said.

“This is the most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile in the world at the moment,” the press service of the Strategic Rocket Forces told Itar-Tass.

With a takeoff weight of over 210 tonnes, the missile's maximum range is 11,000 kilometres and can carry a payload of 8,800 kilograms. The 8.8-tonne warhead includes ten independently targetable re-entry vehicles whose total power is equal to 1,200 Hiroshima nuclear bombs. A single missile can totally eliminate 500 square kilometres of enemy defences.

By 1990, Voyevoda missiles had been placed on combat duty in divisions stationed outside of Uzhur, Krasnoyarsk Territory, and Derzhavinsk, Kazakhstan. Eighty-eight Voyevoda launch sites had been deployed by 1992.

At the end of last year, the Russian Armed Forces adopted the Bulava ICBM for service.

The Bulava carries the NATO reporting name SS-NX-30 and has been assigned the GRAU index 3M30. In international treaties, the common designation RSM-56 is used.

The decision to launch Bulava missiles from aboard the Yuri Dolgoruky submarine was made after two successful launches from a submerged position. Until then Bulava missiles were launched from the submarine Dmitry Donskoi, which was used as the starting point in the Project 941 Akula (Shark), the world's biggest submarine.

Russia flight tested the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from aboard the new-generation nuclear-powered submarine Yuri Dolgoruky in 2011.

The Bulava design is based on the SS-27 (Topol M), but is both lighter and more sophisticated. The two missiles are expected to have comparable ranges, and similar CEP and warhead configurations.

The Russian military developed Bulava to possess advanced defense capabilities making it nearly impervious to existing missile-defense systems. Among its claimed abilities are evasive maneuvering, mid-course countermeasures and decoys and a warhead fully shielded against both physical and EMP damage. The Bulava is designed to be capable of surviving a nuclear blast at a minimum distance of 500 metres.

The first launch of a Bulava solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile with a 10-MIRV warhead was carried out by the Dmitry Donskoi submarine on September 27, 2005. The vessel was surfaced and fired the missile from a point in the White Sea. On December 21 of the same year, the new missile system was tested underwater for the first time. It successfully hit a target at the Kura firing range on the Kamchatka Peninsula.


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