Russia successfully testfires RS-18 ICBM

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Moscow, Oct 29 (UNI) Russia today successfully testfired an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile RS-18 (SS-19 Stiletto) from the Baikonur space centre in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.

''The launch of the ICBM RS-18 was successfully conducted at midday Moscow time (0800 hrs ) October 29 from the Baikonur space centre,'' the spokesman for the SMF Colonel Alexander Vovk told a Russian news agency.

''A simulated warhead has reached the Kura testing site on the Kamchatka peninsula, in the Russian Far East,'' Mr Vovk added.

He pointed out the launch had been conducted in order to assess the possibility of extending the service life of the Stiletto ICBMs, which have so far been operational for 29 years.

''As a result of the successful test launch, the service life of one of our most reliable missile complexes will be extended to 31 years,'' Mr Vovk said.

RS-18 missiles have a combat range exceeding 9,600 km and are considered to be highly reliable.

Over 100 silo-based Stiletto missiles are currently in service with the Stategic Missile Forces (SMF), with each missile carrying six 550-kiloton warheads.

The SMF commander Colonel General Nikolai Solovtsov said last Friday that RS-18 and RS-12M (SS-25 Sickle) will be gradually replaced by new RS-24 ICBMs, equipped with MIRV warheads and characterized by high missile-defence penetration capability.

UNI

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