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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia to Keep Silo and Mobile ICBM Launchers in Future

RIA Novosti

19:43 01/11/2012 MOSCOW, November 1 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) will continue deploying silo-based and mobile ballistic missile launchers in the future, SMF Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. Valery Mazurov said on Thursday.

The two-component structure of the SMF reflects its purpose as part of Russia’s nuclear triad. Silo-based ICBMs serve as a preventive nuclear deterrent of any potential aggression while road-mobile ICBM launchers ensure the capability to respond to nuclear strikes by potential foes.

“This SMF structure will most likely remain unchanged for years or even decades to come,” Mazurov said in an interview with Rossiya 24 television.

“The composition of ICBM systems [in SMF structure] is based on a thorough analysis of potential military conflicts of varied intensity that involve the use of nuclear weapons,” the general said.

According to open sources, the SMF currently operates at least 58 silo-based SS-18 Satan ballistic missiles, 160 road-mobile Topol (SS-25 Sickle) missile systems, 50 silo-based and 18 road-mobile Topol-M (SS-27 Sickle B) systems, and 18 RS-24 Yars systems.

The SMF said last year that the Topol-M and RS-24 ballistic missiles would be the mainstay of the ground-based component of Russia's nuclear triad and would account for no less than 80 percent of the SMF's arsenal by 2016.

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