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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia to improve missile defense penetration capability by 2016

RIA Novosti

17:1610/06/2009 BALABANOVO (Moscow Region), June 10 (RIA Novosti) - Russia plans by 2016 to improve the ability of its range of ballistic missiles to overcome missile defenses, the Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) commander said on Wednesday.

"By 2016, we will significantly modernize not only missile systems but also command-and-control systems in order to improve their ability to overcome missile defenses and increase the survivability of delivery vehicles," Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov said at an SMF reserve command center.

At present, six types of silo-based and mobile ICBM systems are on combat duty with the SMF, including the heavy Voyevoda (SS-18 Satan), capable of carrying 10 warheads, and the Topol-M (Stalin) systems.

According to open sources, the total arsenal of Russia's SMF comprises 538 ICBMs, including 306 SS-25 Topol (Sickle) missiles and 56 SS-27 Topol-M missiles.

Silo-based missiles constitute 45% of the total ballistic missile arsenal. They carry about 85% of nuclear warheads deployed by the SMF.

Solovtsov earlier said Russia would put a regiment of new-generation RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles into service in December.

RS-24 ICBMs, with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warheads, would help bolster the SMF's ability to overpower missile defense systems, "thus strengthening the nuclear deterrence potential of the Russian nuclear triad," the general said.

The SMF will also adopt in the near future a third-generation command-and-control system to improve the launch and targeting procedures for ballistic missiles.

"This system, apart from traditional tasks related to launch procedures, gathering of various data, and control over combat readiness of the launchers, will facilitate a quick response to changing deployment plans and quick retargeting of the missiles," Solovtsov said.

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