RS-26 Rubezh / Avangard
Road Mobile ICBM
The RS-26 Rubezh [Frontier] was created on the basis of RS-24 Yars. This nomenclature is a bit confusing, since the Rubezh coastal missile system was put out of service in 2006 and replaced by a new Bal-E-type mobile coast-based missile system. The RS-26 missile was created on the RS-24 Yars ICBM basis. The new upgraded missile will have multiple warheads and is expected to be lighter than Yars. The RS-26 ICBMs will be only mobile launched, as no silo basing is envisaged for them.
The missile appears to be an intermediate-range missile based on the first two stages of RS-24 Yars. In mid-March 2018 it was reported that the newest hypersonic strategic missile system "Avangard" will be adopted for service no later than 2019. "Vanguard" with a hypersonic planning and maneuvering warhead has already been put into serial production. The strategic hypersonic missile system (RK) "Vanguard" of silo-based basing is included in the state armament program (GPO) until 2027, it will replace the mobile RK "Rubezh".
Initially, it was planned to include both the Avangard and the Rubezh in the GPO, but later it became clear that there were not enough funds for the simultaneous financing of these two projects. Therefore, the final version of the new GPO included Avangard, as having more importance for ensuring the country's defense capability. Because of the impossibility of simultaneous financing of all missile programs in the interests of the Strategic Missile Forces, the new combat railway missile complex Barguzin was not included in the GPV-2027.
The new RS-26 Rubezh is an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), meaning that it follows a ballistic trajectory to reach the target. During the descending section of that trajectory, with only a few hundred miles left to the target, the warhead suddenly takes a dive, loses altitude, and continues the approach as a cruise missile. These new Russian ICBM warheads were developed in response to America’s plans to deploy a global missile defense system along Russia's borders.
There is little information about the new missile. It was developed at the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology under the code "Rubezh" ("Frontier"). The missile is launched from a mobile launcher. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin called the missile a "killer of US missile defense."
Commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN) Colonel General Sergei Karakayev said on 17 December 2014 the new missile would have lower mass than Yars. “We always say that we need to reduce the size (of missile systems). Speaking of the Yars land-based mobile missile system, to date, its launcher weighs more than 120 tonnes. We will make the improved missile’s weight characteristics under 80 tonnes,” said the commander.
“By improving the rocket fuel component, a solid fuel component, we are creating a new missile system, which we can deploy also on different soils and in different positioning areas. You understand that it has a better off-road capability and it is smaller in size, so its combat survivability will be higher, and it will require less camouflaging facilities,” Karakayev said. “We will not put it in silos, as it’s a land-based mobile missile system,” he added.
The new ICBM represents a deep modernization of Topol-M or Yars. On the basis of this information, the all-up-weight of the missile is estimated to be at least 60 tons. There is information about creating a new mobile launcher significantly different from the similar machines of previous complexes. A missile, as well as other similar systems, is supposedly made according to a three-stage scheme. From messages about the latest launch it follows that the Rubezh was equipped with multiple warheads. The authors of the portal MilitaryRussia.ru suggest that for the missiles Rubezh a new maneuvering warhead can be constructed.
Initially it was unknown whether this missile would carry a single warhead or Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs). Both configurations were tested in 2013. Rubezh was said by Russian sources to be more accurate than current ballistic missiles and is capable of penetrating even the most sophisticated missile defenses.
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