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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Analysis By Charles P. Vick, Senior Analyst,


The RS-24 is a new-generation 10,000 kilometer range intercontinental ballistic missile, which is equipped with three and or four multiple independently target able reentry vehicle (MIRV) warhead configurations. The RS-24 ICBM is expected to greatly strengthen the Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) [RVSN] strike capability with its 20% greater throw-weight capability over previous missiles designs, as well as that of its allies until the mid-21st century. The RS-24 missile will be deployed both in silos and on semi-mobile platforms and together with the Topol-M single-warhead ICBM will constitute the core of Russia's SMF in the future. By 2020 the Russian strategic Missile Forces (RVSN) expect to have 170 Topol-M’s with 108 RS-24’s in service both in Silo’s and semi-mobile configuration in addition to 30 silo based SS-19’s. All SS-18’s ICBM’s are expected to be replaced by the new in R&D follow-on SS--X? Sarmatian heavy liquid propellant, multiple warheads MIRV’ed ICBM by 2026. Russia's State Rocket Center V. P. Makeyev of (Miass) and NGO's Engineering (Reutov) along with NPO Mashinostroyeniyais is developing the new Sarmatian ICBM.

The RS-24 / SS-29, called Yars-M has also been called Avangard is a highly refined heavier SS-27 Topol-M with a new fourth BUS/PBV, MIRV'ed stage. It is known to have been developed by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technologies. It is believed to have been developed with lighter highly refined filament wound solid motor casings and exhaust nozzles with extensions deployed in flight. The three stage solid motors are believed to utilize faster burning more energetic solid propellants over the older Soviet era solid propellant formulas previously deployed.

Though open press information suggests it to be capable of carrying 10 RV's it is in fact only capable of carrying single and 3 and 4 warhead package designs. The RS-24 has been deployed operationally with three or four warheads composed of 1,500 kilogram greater payload capacity than the 11,000 km range Topol-M, SS-27 {NATO Stalin] series with its single 1,000-1,200 kilogram warhead mass. Early field deployment of strategic ballistic missile is the standard Soviet/Russian practice to ring out the system as it is also being flight tested. This is in fact the case for the RS-24 Yars that is now deployed in the Tagil and Novosibirsk divisions of the RVSN.

RS-24 underwent its first launch on September 27, 2011 from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome totally failing soon after launch impacting on the range. The second and first successful launch from the Plesetsk range with a single warhead took place May 23, 2012. The missile was then subjected to semi-field deployment for its second successful flight from the Kapustin Yar Cosmodrome range with a single warhead on October 24, 2012 completing its third flight test. On June 6, 2013 it was launch a fourth time from the Kapustin Yar Cosmodrome range with multiple warheads in its operational MIRV configuration on a full range flight test with "All the warheads hit the designated areas at the Kura testing grounds on the Kamchatka Peninsula. It was again flight tested a fifth time from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on April 16, 2014 impacting its multiple warheads on the Kura test range in the Kamchatka Peninsula units of the RS-24 were sent to the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN) for early field deployment operations combat duty as early as February 2012.

All of these flight test were of the actual final design operational system to be deployed. Previous flights associated with the RS-24 program tested newer technology utilized existing Topol-M, SS-27 class hardware for prototype testing demonstration proof of principal to meet State requirements. These technology demonstration flight tests took place on May 29, 2007, November 26, 2007 and December 25, 2007 and were some years separated from the actual operational systems flight testing. It directly reflects the time that was required by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technologies to do the R&D for the final operational system by the Russian Federation Missile industry.

Having completed it fourth experimental operational development flight test with three successes in a row the new semi-mobile MIRV’ed, ICBM was approved for field regimental operational experimental deployment with the Russian Federation, Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN) entering service in the last quarter of 2013 along with those already on combat duty from early in 2012 some years after its forecasted deployment. Further operational flight testing from the deployed missiles is expected in and 2014.

Previous reportage is as follows:

Nikolai Solovtsov, Russia's Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) commander said the new-generation RS-24 multiple-warhead missile system will enter service with the RVSN in 2009 said. "We have carried out a series of successful ground and flight tests of the RS-24 missile. The new ICBM system will be put in service in 2009," he said. Solovtsov said the new system would "strengthen Russia's nuclear deterrence," including its capability to penetrate missile defense shields, and will serve to counter elements of a U.S. missile defense system deployed in Central Europe.

The RS-24 was first tested on May 29, 2007 after a secret military R&D project, and then again on December 25, 2007. On 26 November 2008 Russia successfully test launched a new-generation intercontinental ballistic missile bearing multiple independently target able reentry vehicle (MIRV) warheads. "All the warheads hit the designated areas at the Kura testing grounds on the Kamchatka peninsula. All the tasks in the test have been accomplished," a spokesman for the Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) press service said. The RS-24 missile was launched at 4:20 p.m. Moscow time (13:20 GMT) from the Plesetsk space center in northwest Russia. The new test was aimed at obtaining data confirming the missile's technical characteristics and its readiness to enter service with the SMF.

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Page last modified: 25-08-2021 17:17:14 ZULU