GORKI, December 27, /ITAR-TASS/. Russia has started deploying new silo-based missiles and putting them on combat duty, President Vladimir Putin said.
“This is a major event in the life of the country and in enhancing its defence capability,” Putin said at a meeting with the government.
The RS-24 Yars missile is a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a multiple warhead. It can be both silo- and mobile-based. Designed by the Moscow Heat Engineering Institute, the missile is a modernised version of the Topol-M ICBM and should replace RS-18 and RS-20 missiles in the future.
On December 24, a silo-based RS-24 Yars missile was fired from Plesetsk Cosmodrome and hit the target at the Kura testing range in Kamchatka.
The Kozelsk rocket division of the Strategic Missile Forces in the Kaluga region started removing RS-18 ICBMs from combat duty and converting silos for new Yars systems late last year.
The division is the first in the country to be armed with silo-based Yars systems with RS-24 missiles.
Similar preparations were made in Irkutsk and Novosibirsk divisions. By the end of last year, the Tatishchevo rocket division in the Saratov region were reported to have been armed with silo-based Topol-M missiles and the Teikovo rocket division with mobile Yars systems.
The Teikovo missile division is the first unit in the Strategic Missile Forcesto become fully armed with new land-based mobile Topol-M and Yars systems.
Topol-M and Yars systems will carry 5th-generation RT-2PM2 and RS-24 ICBMs respectively.
Rearmament has also started 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,” RVSN spokesperson, Colonel Vadim 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,” he said.
With the adoption of the RS-24 system, “the Strategic Missile 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 in the summer of 2012.
The warheads of Russia’s newest Topol-M and RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles can pierce any of the existing of future missile defences, 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,” he said.
The Strategic Missile 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. Russia started deploying RS-24 ICBMs with MIRVs in 2011.
Russia is now finishing the flight testing of a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tentatively called RS-26, which is based on the RS-24 Yars missile.
Land-based mobile systems armed with these missiles will go on combat duty in 2015, Colonel-General Sergei Karakayev, commander of the Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN), said.
He said the new missile had been launched to the Kura testing range more than 5,600 kilometres away in 2012. “The missile fulfilled its mission. Its mock warhead landed in Kamchatka, and work is now underway to fine-tune [the missile] and carry out the tests that would verify all of the combat characteristics,” Karakayev said.
“After this work has been completed, hopefully in 2014, the state commission will make its conclusions on whether the system is fit for operation. If the decision is positive, we plan to put the system on combat duty from 2015,” the commander said, adding that the divisions to be armed with these systems had already been determined.
The RS-26 solid-fuel missile with a multiple warhead is a prototype of an intercontinental ballistic missile on the basis of Yars and Topol-M missiles, which is undergoing flight testing now.
The new missile will be lighter than the Yars. “We keep saying that we need to reduce the size [of missiles]. If we are to speak about the Yars land-based mobile system, the launcher weighs more than 120 tonnes. The new missile will weigh less, no more than 80 tonnes,” Karakayev said.
“By improving the fuel component, the solid one, we are creating a new missile system that can be deployed on different types of soil and in different areas. It will have a better cross-country capacity and survivability, smaller weight and it will require less camouflage,” Karakayev said, adding, “We will not put it in silos. This is a land-based mobile system.