Russia Tests ‘Missile Defense Killer’

Kapustin Yar testing site (archive)

MOSCOW, June 7 (RIA Novosti) – The US missile defense system is no match for the new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that Russia tested this week, a senior Russian official said Friday.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the defense industry, hailed Thursday’s tests as a success and dubbed the new ICBM a “missile defense killer.”

“Neither current nor future American missile defense systems will be able to prevent that missile from hitting a target dead on,” he said, during an event organized by the ruling United Russia party.

The Russian Defense Ministry was more modest in its appraisal of the test, carried out by the Strategic Missile Forces at the Kapustin Yar testing site, between Volgograd and Astrakhan, on Thursday.

“The test launch was a success as the [simulated] warhead hit a designated target within the set time frame,” said a Defense Ministry statement issued Thursday.

The US missile defense system in Europe, which NATO and the US say is aimed at countering threats from North Korea and Iran, has been a particular source of friction in US-Russian relations for a number of years.

Russia and NATO formally agreed to cooperate over the European missile defense system at the 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon, but talks foundered, in part over Russian demands for legal guarantees that the system would not target its strategic nuclear deterrent.

In mid-March, the US announced that it was modifying its planned missile defense deployment to Poland, dropping plans to station SM-3 IIB interceptors in the country by 2022.

Russian officials responded by saying that this did nothing to allay their concerns over US missile defense in Eastern Europe, and reiterated their demand for legally binding agreements guaranteeing that Russia’s strategic nuclear forces would not be targeted.

Although analysts were quick to interpret the US change in plan as a concession to Russia, possibly intended to pave the way for further bilateral talks on nuclear arms reduction, US officials repeatedly refuted this suggestion.

Speaking after a bilateral meeting with the Polish foreign minister on Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry stressed the United States’ continued commitment to that element of the missile defense system.

“We are on track to deploy a missile defense site in Poland by 2018 as part of NATO’s modernized approach to our security,” Kerry said.

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Russian nuclear subs to patrol south seas

For the first time in more than 20 years, Moscow intends to send nuclear submarines to patrol the southern hemisphere, Russia’s state-run Itar-Tass news agency reported.

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Moscow will resume nuclear submarine patrols in the southern hemisphere, Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency reported, following President Vladimir Putin’s recent decision to send a naval unit to the Mediterranean Sea.

The move, yet another example of the Kremlin’s intent to build its naval military, is the first time in more than 20 years that Russia will have a nuclear submarine in the southern hemisphere with Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capability.

“The revival of nuclear submarine patrols will allow us to fulfill the tasks of strategic deterrence not only across the North Pole but also the South Pole,” state-run Itar-Tass cited an unnamed official in the military General Staff as saying.

Though the New START treaty Russia agreed to limits the number of nuclear weapons and launchers it can deploy, the Borie-class subs still carry up to 16 long-range nuclear missiles.

“As the Russian Navy receive the Borie-class missile submarines, they will not only continue to patrol the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, but will resume execution of combat missions in those regions of the world’s ocean, where in the late 90s of the last century used to be the Soviet Navy, and where they have ceased to appear following the collapse of the Soviet Union,” Itar-Tass’ source said.

It’s thought the new patrols will be added over a few years, with more new submarines, such as the Yuri Dolgoruky, to be built over the next seven years. To date, Russia has nine nuclear submarines in its Nothern and Pacific Fleets.

Russia to Get New ICBM Later this Year

RS-24 Yars ballistic missiles

MOSCOW, April 18 (RIA Novosti) – The first modernized intercontinental ballistic missile, Yars-M, will enter service with Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN) later this year, RVSN Commander Col. Gen. Sergei Karavayev said on Thursday.

A defense industry source previously told RIA Novosti the Armed Forces will take delivery of a fifth-generation Yars-M missile before the end of the current year.

Karavayev declined to provide any details, including the missile’s specifications.

The existing RS-24 Yars (NATO reporting name, SS-29) is a MIRV’ed ICBM that is heavier than the Topol-M (SS-27 Stalin) and can carry up to 10 independently targetable warheads.

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

Karavayev also said the Tatishchevo RVSN Division, near the city of Saratov in southwestern Russia, at present has 60 Topol-M missile systems.

The Topol-M missile, with a range of about 7,000 miles (11,000 km), is said to be immune to any current and planned US antiballistic missile defense. It is capable of making evasive maneuvers, and carries targeting countermeasures and decoys.

By 2020, the RVSN are expected to be equipped with over 170 Topol-Ms (mobile and silo-based), as well as 30 SS-19 and 108 RS-24 missile defense systems in nine divisions.