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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia to continue developing defense capability - Putin

RIA Novosti

18/10/2007 16:58 MOSCOW, October 18 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin said Thursday Russia will continue to develop both nuclear and conventional components of its armed forces.

"We will not only focus on all components of the nuclear triad, meaning the Strategic Missile Forces, strategic aviation and nuclear submarines, but also on other kinds of weapons," Putin said in his annual question and answer session live on TV.

"A weapons development program until 2015 has been approved for the development of all armed services and branches," Putin said.

Russia deployed 36 types of modern weaponry with the Armed Forces in the first half of 2007.

These weapon systems included the submarine-launched R-29RM Sineva ballistic missiles, the S-400 Triumf air defense complex, and the 120-mm Nona SM-1 towed mortar for Ground Forces.

BALLISTIC MISSILES

Putin said Russia had been successfully developing new-generation ballistic missile systems while modernizing the existing missile complexes.

"We will continue developing missile technologies, including new-generation ballistic missiles," the president said. "We will also prioritize the development of high-precision weaponry."

Russia has recently conducted test launches of the Yarts land-based ballistic missile, the Bulava sea-launched ballistic missile, the X-102 airborne missile and a new version of the Iskander-M ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads.

On Thursday, Russia's Strategic Missile Forces announced a successful test launch of an RS-12 Topol ICBM (NATO reporting name SS-25 Sickle). Topol missile systems have been in service since 1988 and their service life has been extended to 21 years.

The single-warhead missile will be progressively replaced over the next decade by a mobile version of the Topol-M (SS-27) missile, which can carry up to six nuclear warheads.

NUCLEAR SUBMARINES

Putin said Russia will start building a fourth Borey-class strategic nuclear submarine in 2008.

The Yury Dolgoruky, the first nuclear submarine of the Borey family, was built at the Sevmash plant in the northern Arkhangelsk Region. It will undergo sea trials in 2007 and will be equipped with the Bulava ballistic missiles to become operational in the Russian Navy after 2008.

The submarine has a length of 170 meters (580 feet), a body diameter around 13 meters (42 feet), and a submerged speed of about 29 knots. It can carry up to 16 ballistic missiles.

Two other Borey-class nuclear submarines, the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh, are currently under construction at the Sevmash plant.

Putin said that Russia's fourth-generation submarines armed with Bulava missiles would form the core of an entire fleet of modern submarines.

STRATEGIC BOMBERS

The president said Russia would continue modernizing its Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers, which have recently resumed regular training exercises and routine long-range patrol flights over the Arctic region, the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans.

Putin said strategic bombers would also be used to test and deploy advanced high-precision weaponry, including guided bombs and cruise missiles.

Russia's Air Force commissioned in July a modernized Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bomber and could receive a new Tu-160 bomber by the end of the year.

NEW-GENERATION FIGHTER

Russia will complete work on the development of an advanced fighter aircraft in 2012-2015, Putin said.

"By 2012 or 2015 at the latest, I hope we will have a new-generation fighter which will be put in service [with Russia's Air Force]," the president said.

The most recent addition to the Russian fleet of combat aircraft is the $36-million Su-34 Fullback fighter-bomber.

Designed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau, the Su-34s will replace the Su-24 Fencer frontline bombers. Experts said the new bomber has the potential to become the best plane in its class for years to come.

The first serial-production Su-34 has been at the Lipetsk pilot training center for practical training of military pilots and further testing of weaponry and electronics.

The Russian Air Force is planning to procure over 70 Su-34 aircraft by 2015.



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