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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia plans to test launch 9 ballistic missiles in 2008

RIA Novosti

05/05/2008 13:17 MOSCOW, May 5 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) are planning to conduct nine test launches of ballistic missiles in 2008, the SMF commander said on Monday.

"One of the main tasks for us in 2008 is to test new [ballistic] missile systems and to extend the service life of the existing complexes," Col. General Nikolai Solovtsov said. "This program includes nine test launches of ballistic missiles."

According to the SMF commander, Russia puts an average of three mobile and three or four fixed-site Topol-M ballistic missile systems into operation every year, and the SMF will double its test launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles after 2009.

At present, Russia operates 48 silo-based Topol-M systems (NATO reporting name SS-27) and will deploy another two with a missile regiment in the Saratov Region in southern Russia this year, bringing the total number to 50.

The missile, with a range of about 7,000 miles (11,000 km), is said to be immune to any current and future U.S. ABM defense. It is capable of making evasive maneuvers to avoid a kill using terminal phase interceptors, and carries targeting countermeasures and decoys.

It is also shielded against radiation, electromagnetic pulse, nuclear blasts, and is designed to survive a hit from any known form of laser technology.

The first Topol-M mobile missile battalion, equipped with three road-mobile systems, was put on combat duty with a missile unit stationed near the town of Teikovo, about 150 miles (240 km) northeast of Moscow, on December 12, 2006.

Solovtsov said earlier a second missile battalion, equipped with Topol-M mobile ICBMs, would be put on combat duty in the near future and the deployment of silo-based Topol-M systems in the Saratov Region and road-mobile systems in the Ivanovo Region (central Russia) would be completed in 2010.

He reiterated that Russia would equip the Topol-M missile systems with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV) in the next two or three years.

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