Russia Tests Missiles


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21 April 2009
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Russia Tests ICBMs
Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009

Russia's Defense Ministry announced Friday that it had launched two ICBMs from submarines, the Xinhua News Agency reported (see GSN, Oct. 9).

Fired on Oct. 6 and 7 from the vessels Svyatoi Georgy Pobedonosets and Ryazan submarines, the RSM-50 missiles reached their assigned targets in northern Russia, the ministry said.

The RSM-50, also known as the Stingray, dates back to the 1970s. It can carry between three and seven warheads and can fly nearly 5,000 miles (Xinhua News Agency I, Oct. 9).

Meanwhile, Moscow plans to begin deployment of its multiple-warhead RS-24 ICBM in December, Xinhua reported.

Five tests of the weapon are expected before 2010, according to Lt. Gen. Andrei Shvaichenko, commander of the Russian strategic missile forces.

Combined with currently fielded Topol-M single-warhead missiles, the RS-24s are expected to make up at least 80 percent of the forces' strategic arsenal by the end of 2016, local media quoted the commander as saying (Xinhua News Agency II/CCTV, Oct. 13).

"Putting RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles in service will strengthen (Russia's) combat capabilities," Shvaichenko said, according to the Associated Press.

The United States holds that fielding the RS-24 presents a violation of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty by placing more than one warhead on missiles that had previously held one warhead (see related GSN story, today). Moscow counters that the RS-24 is a completely new missile.

The first missile is expected to be deployed northeast of Moscow, in the Ivanovo province, Shvaichenko said.

Shvaichenko also disparaged any U.S. intention to equip some strategic missiles with non-nuclear warheads (see GSN May 21). He said the use of such missiles could lead another nation to fire nuclear weapons in response.

A country that believes itself the target of a launched U.S. strategic missile "would determine the risk it faced according to a worst-case scenario," said the Russian lieutenant general. Such an occurrence "would seriously undermine ... international security as a whole" (Steve Gutterman, Associated Press/Google News, Oct. 12).
[edit - removed political comments - stick to facts please - Administrator]

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